nCipher is a leading provider of encryption and key management solutions to public and private enterprises and institutions worldwide. It engages in the development and resale of Internet security products, services, and technologies. The company offers solutions in the fields of identity management, data protection, enterprise key management, and cryptographic hardware.

Company Creation

nCipher was founded in 1996 by Alex and Nicko van Someren in Cambridge, UK. Alex and Nicko were convinced, rightly of course, that with the emergence of e-commerce, the Internet would quickly develop as a new and significant sales channel for goods and services. New client devices would be adopted for Internet access and offer new channels through which on-line business could be transacted. Electronic commerce transactions, on-line financial transactions, wireless transactions, and enterprise communications would all require strong security to ensure confidentiality, authentication, access control, data integrity and accountability. nCipher was launched to develop products that enable the provision of these services, namely through cryptographic IT security solutions.


To finance growth in its early years, Dr. Ossama Hassanein led two successive financing rounds and joined the Company as Chairman of the Board. In 1997, the Company produced a range of Hardware Security Modules which accelerate encryption calculations, and provided a secure way to manage and store information. Its products were particularly targeted at users with high volumes of security-sensitive transactions, such as banking and financial institutions, e-retailers, service providers, and government agencies.


The products were successful and sales ramped up quickly. Revenue grew from £861,000 in 1998 to approximately £4.7 million in 1999.

By mid-2000, nCipher products had been sold to over 100 customers in many locations around the world. Customers included AT&T, Microsoft, Fidelity Investments,, Abbey National, Bank of America, Barclays Bank, Chase Manhattan, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, US Department of Defense, Visa, MasterCard and Verizon, to name but a few.


In late 2000, four years after creation, Dr. Hassanein guided the Company to a successful listing on the London Stock Exchange at a market value exceeding £350 million. In 2008, the company was acquired by Thales Corporation.