From Cybersecurity Pioneer to Boise’s Hall of Fame in Technology

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In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, few individuals leave a lasting impact like Brad Wiskirchen, co-founder of Kount, a cybersecurity company based in Boise. Recently inducted into the Hall of Fame for Technology, Wiskirchen’s journey reflects a profound commitment to innovation, responsibility, and the flourishing tech scene in Idaho.

Wiskirchen’s foray into cybersecurity began during his tenure as CEO of Clickbank, a major online retailer of digital goods. Faced with a barrage of fraud attempts, he collaborated with partner Jim Barber to create a proprietary fraud control script. A chance encounter with the CEO of Chase Paymentech ignited the idea of packaging their solution. “What do you do for fraud control, because you have the lowest fraud rates? You need to bottle that and sell it,” Mike Duffy, then CEO of Chase Paymentech. This led to the inception of Kount, now recognized as the premier Fraud Control company globally.

Transitioning from law to technology leadership, Wiskirchen navigated multiple career shifts, each marked by pivotal moments. Notably, the decision to expand Kount’s focus from individual merchants to large banks and financial institutions transformed the trajectory of the business. “We were in a Manhattan cab, when we decided to create the product and now it’s changed the business landscape in fraud,” mentioned Wirskirchen.

Wiskirchen transitioned to CVC Equity Partners in September, handing the baton to Adam Gunther, former IBM executive. The former software engineer from North Carolina discovered a passion for how people used technology versus how to build it. At IBM he moved into project management that led to fraud prevention.

Wiskirchen’s perspective on artificial intelligence (AI) is grounded in practical application. As the first to integrate AI into the payments industry, Kount relies on machine learning for its fraud prevention strategies. Wiskirchen emphasizes the need for openness about AI’s risks and advocates for a responsible approach, recognizing both its potential and the possibility of misuse.
In a surprising turn, Wiskirchen highlights the significance of philosophy and liberal arts in AI development. While mathematicians play a crucial role, a strong foundation in philosophy is recommended, emphasizing the ethical dimensions of AI. Additionally, he underscores the pivotal role of data analytics, asserting that AI is meaningless without quality data.
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a poignant recognition for Wiskirchen, who sees it as an opportunity to showcase Idaho’s technological prowess beyond its agricultural reputation. Boise, with its vibrant arts scene and outdoor activities, has become a hub for innovation. Wiskirchen’s dedication to the city is evident in his commitment to local entrepreneurs and his involvement in cultural and community activities.
Brad Wiskirchen’s induction into the Hall of Fame for Technology is not just a personal achievement but a testament to Boise’s emergence as a tech hotspot. His multifaceted career, from cybersecurity pioneer to private equity partner, reflects a commitment to growth, responsibility, and fostering a thriving tech ecosystem in Idaho.