Category: Top Management

Name: Stina Ehrensvard

Title: CEO and founder

Company: Yubico

Why nominated: Stina Ehrensvard founded the two-factor authentication company Yubico with a vision to make the internet secure for everyone – then pursued this objective further by successfully advocating for new open authentication standards — FIDO U2F and FIDO2 — that have changed the game for online security.

Profile: In the fight for the creation and contribution of accessible technologies that can be implemented and used on a global scale, Ehrensvard used her background in art and design helped to create a simple, seamless hardware authentication device called the YubiKey that requires only one touch for the device to work, rather than re-typing one-time codes.

Ehrensvard’s standards efforts started in 2013 when Yubico and Google co-created FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F), a standard based on public key authentication that lets internet users instantly and securely access any number of online services, with one single hardware authentication device.

In April 2018, Ehrensvard fulfilled a decade-long dream with the launch of the new open authentication standard FIDO2, which is already supported by leading technology and internet companies. This standard enables logins to any number of services without the need for credentials, offering strong user privacy protections, as no user data or activity is shared between services.

To date, these standards that Ehrensvard helped to formalize continue to lay a valuable foundation for the innovative work of developers and standards bodies worldwide.

Ehrensvard’s security insights are continually sought after by the U.S. government agencies, and she even consulted with former President Barack Obama about online identity protection.

What colleagues say: “My first meeting with Yubico was with their founder and CEO, Stina Ehrensvard. At the time, I knew a lot about the product (as most people in security do), but very little about the personalities behind it — and I was blown away… First, her goal since inception has been global and sweeping: to secure the internet for every user. Second, a Swedish national, she came to Silicon Valley as an outsider and has not only helped to create a standard that has been widely adopted (including by Google and Microsoft), but she’s built a profitable and hugely successful company on little outside capital.”

 – Martin Casado, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and the newest member of the Yubico board of directors