First Watch’s Waikato story started when Bob Stokes co-founded CTEK with a vision to revolutionize the industrial automation industry. With over 35 years of experience in the IT, automation, and control sectors, he saw firsthand the critical role that technology plays in driving business success.
In 2019, Bob led CTEK in its partnership with the University of Waikato to form First Watch, a cybersecurity platform that is the first of its kind, designed to prevent attacks on the OT network. With cyber-attacks on the rise and critical infrastructure increasingly vulnerable, Bob believed that First Watch would play a critical role in protecting businesses and communities around the world.
The University of Waikato is renowned for its expertise in cybersecurity research and education, therefore their involvement in the partnership that founded First Watch provided access to leading researchers and experts in the field of cybersecurity.
First Watch prides itself on being a leader in cybersecurity solutions for the industrial and key infrastructure sectors. Its innovative platform, which is the first of its kind, is designed to prevent attacks on the OT network, providing comprehensive protection against cyber threats.
Their patent-protected software platform and professional support services are tailored to the unique needs of industrial organizations, ensuring that they are always ahead of potential threats. What sets First Watch apart from the competition is its ability to detect anomalies in the industrial environment and take immediate action to shut them down, thereby preventing any harm from being done.
Bob praises the Waikato region as an ideal location for First Watch to provide industrial cybersecurity solutions for many reasons. With the Waikato region being home to a diverse range of industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, and energy. These industries are crucial to the region's economy, and the need for robust cybersecurity measures is more critical than ever.
Waikato is a region that is known for its innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. As a provider of innovative cybersecurity solutions, First Watch has found a supportive environment in Waikato, which has enabled it to develop and grow its business.
What's next for First Watch?
The future for First Watch is one of growth, innovation, and a commitment to providing comprehensive protection against cyber threats. The company is expanding globally, with a presence in Australia and India, and soon to be in the US, Malaysia, and the Philippines, and is eager to help businesses worldwide protect their critical infrastructure. First Watch's goal is to secure every company in New Zealand from OT attacks with its innovative platform and expert team.
Bob says his journey as a business owner has been marked by a passion for innovation and technology, and a commitment to delivering the best solutions to its clients.
"I'm proud of what we've accomplished, and I'm even more excited about what lies ahead. Don't be afraid to take risks and embrace failure as a learning opportunity. Every setback is a chance to grow and improve.”