KoolSpan has a vision for its TrustCall software: to protect every cellphone communication. “If secure calls were as easy, convenient and high quality as regular phone calls, why would anyone ever opt to make an insecure call?” says Elad Yoran, executive chairman of KoolSpan’s board of directors. “That’s where we’re taking this company.”
KoolSpan, which is based in the Washington DC area, makes TrustCall software that encrypts calls and texts on Android, iPhone and BlackBerry devices. TrustCall clients include not just governments, defense and aerospace companies, but also law firms and businesses globally.
“Their tech is huge,” says Counsel Eric Hanson, who, with Partner Stephanie Evans, has provided general corporate advice to the company since 2013. “With so many security breaches receiving coverage in the news, their product is on the edge of really breaking out.”
Although governments and the military have traditionally wanted products like KoolSpan’s TrustCall, the awareness of the need to protect mobile communications “has become mainstream in recent years,” says Yoran, who has worked in the cybersecurity space for two decades. “Nowadays it is shockingly easy and cheap to intercept phone calls or text messages. Frankly, it’s dangerous to discuss any sensitive information, including attorney-client privileged information, on our cellphones without protecting them.”
TrustCall makes it easy for organizations to protect their communications. Past options for securing phone communications have meant compromising on call quality and convenience: you’d have to put up with delays or poor sound quality, and in some cases, switch to a specially engineered phone to make your encrypted call.
To work, TrustCall must be provisioned onto one’s smartphone, either by downloading it from the Google or Apple app stores, or, in a business context, via the mobile device management software that the company uses to manage its employees’ phones. Both sides of the TrustCall conversation have to be provisioned and paired into a TrustGroup.
WilmerHale has supported KoolSpan’s vision with counseling that is “common for a tech startup,” says Hanson, “including governance advice and raising funding on an ongoing basis.” Partner Barry Hurewitz has also counseled the company on export control issues. Yoran says that, in addition to the firm’s transactional abilities, KoolSpan was drawn to WilmerHale because of its thought leadership on cybersecurity issues.