Security by those who know it best: Six Protect
Six Protect is a platform that directly connects licensed security professionals with those who have security needs. By basing the system on technology, Six Protect is able to pay security professionals more, while giving more options, better service, and lower client costs.
Co-founders Michael Husnik and Dominik Kolesnik are men of their industry, having worked their way from the ground up in personal security before coming to the Velocity Garage with their startup. We sat down with Michael to get a better understanding of personal security in the modern age, and how Six Protect is disrupting the industry.
How did Six Protect start?
MH: My co-founder and I both have over 20 years experience working within the security industry, and we saw a race to the bottom in North America. There are over 400 licensed security companies in Ontario which provide security services, and they are all competing with very low margins and high overhead. This really pushes the pay of security professionals down, and it’s only getting worse. For what they need to do to become a security professional they have to invest in so much training and are putting their lives on the line for clients, but yet are paid close to minimum wage. To me, that is not just or appropriate. So Dominik and I were discussing at length for well over a year before applying to the Velocity Garage and really felt that with the emergence of platform models, that the security industry was ripe for disruption, and took the leap to quit our careers and create Six Protect.
How do you think your personal worldview has helped develop your company?
MH: Interestingly enough, we felt a little bit like the black sheep coming into the Velocity Garage. We’re not University of Waterloo grads, we come from our industry. My post-secondary consisted of police foundations, same for Dominik, we both originally wanted to be cops. I don’t want to speak on behalf of Velocity, but I think what made them so comfortable taking a chance on us was the fact that we know our industry so well. We are passionate about it, and that allowed us to go from zero to revenue quickly because we didn’t have the same barriers as other companies of having to learn how to navigate within an industry.
Some would say we’re living in a scary climate right now, with attacks heard on the news daily. How do you think this could change the personal security industry?
MH: Here’s what I think, and it might sound a little funny coming from someone who lives and breathes security from a practitioner level, but I don’t feel like the world is becoming less safe. I’ve been doing this for close to 14 years now, and I think that people’s awareness, and the way that information spreads so quickly, has just made people more aware. Which isn’t a bad thing! I think people need to be more aware of their surroundings.
There’s always the potential for things to go wrong, and they should prepare proactive and reactive measures on how to stay safe if a bad situation should happen. I think that’s where you see legislation changing, like Bill 168 around workplace violence and harassment. You see not only from a government level but from a corporate business level, they are putting in place measures to ensure employees and individuals are safe. I think it’s a step in the right direction.
Right now private security is a $3 billion dollar industry in Canada, and by 2020 it could go up to $4 billion. With that kind of growth, you could justify it has to be getting worse – but I don’t know if I completely buy that. For example, when Kim Kardashian got robbed in Paris, our business went up here in Canada, because of how virally that news spread. To be able to pinpoint what happened to her there and how that translates to safety and security here; I don’t think it’s the risk of something happening to an individual that has gone up, I think it’s that the conversation has started, whether it’s in the household or workplace.
Where do you see Six Protect going in the future, and what do you predict will be the biggest challenge?
MH: We have very aggressive plans for expansion. The nice thing about building a platform model is that it gives you the competitive advantage to expand into other markets quickly, without a tremendous amount of startup costs and such. A traditional security company doesn’t have that advantage. So for us, the way we plan to go is to be aggressive through North America. Our biggest challenges, like any marketplace startup, is balancing the two sides of our platform and ensuring they are able to fulfill each other. We’ve got good plans around that and our algorithm has been working quite well so far.
Do you have one word that you would use to describe your journey in building this startup?
MH: ‘Patience’ is the first word that comes to mind. You have this idea, and whether it formed two years ago, or a month ago, your vision changes and grows as you go through the process; but you need to have patience because you have to not be worried about getting to market quickly. You have to be taking your time and doing it right, especially if you are in an incubator like the Velocity Garage, soaking in the experiences around you. When you rush things, and I’ve seen this with others around us and even with ourselves, rushing things can often take twice as long than if you were to do things right in the first place.
To learn more about Six Protect and the services they offer, visit their website.