Semafone was established in 2009 with the aim of addressing the challenges posed by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for card payments made by telephone.
The business was founded by a team of experienced call centre professionals who had spent two years developing pioneering fraud prevention software.
This enabled call centres to take credit card payments without employees ever hearing or seeing their customer’s card details.
The software allows customers to remain in voice communication with call centre staff whilst they enter their credit card information into their telephone keypad. Semafone’s patented technology masks the Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) tones from the cardholder’s telephone and replaces them with a flat tone so they can’t be recognised by call centre employees or recorded on a call recording system.
The company achieved incredible success right from the outset – bringing on board many household name clients and being awarded ‘European Call Centre Product of the Year in 2010’. (This success has continued, with Semafone more recently winning the 2012 METAward for Best Emerging Technology.)
By the end of 2011, Semafone was enjoying rapid growth under the leadership of chief executive, Tim Critchley. With ambitious plans to drive further sales and increase market share both throughout the UK and internationally, and with investment from Octopus Ventures, the company wanted to add strength to its already impressive board by appointing an experienced non-executive chairman (NEC).
It was essential that the new chairman had a track record of building a successful, international, venture backed business, as well as an in-depth understanding of the global impact of PCI DSS. Crucially, they would know how to best capitalise on Semafone’s potential for growth, within the relatively short window of opportunity available.
“This effective process has enabled us to secure a world class Chairman from a strong shortlist of candidates”
Tim Critchley, CEO Semafone