Jacqueline Lowy, 29
Santa Monica-based Sourced Intelligence is a private intelligence and consulting firm providing digital investigations, open source intelligence training and security consulting.
What led you to start this business?
Throughout our careers, my business partner and I worked with both the military, the intelligence community and federal and local law enforcement, as well as traditional private investigative firms. Within the industry, we quickly learned there is a fundamental lack of understanding in the investigative and security community as it pertains to the digital environment.
How did you fund it, and how are you funding it going forward?
Funding is simple. When you build your own tools to maximize efficiency, and your value is a unique skill set, minimal expenses are required.
Are there advantages/disadvantages to starting a business in your 20s, and if so, what are they?
The security and intelligence industry is very networked based. Established security professionals who may have served a long and honorable career tend to overshadow the younger generation of veterans with a contemporary skill. The best part is, when the older generation reaches out to our young team, we always love to “wow” them with our skill, professionalism, and most importantly, we get results.
Do you have a mentor?
Yes. I consult with him on every project and he acts as the ultimate check and balance when my mind is racing 100 miles per hour.
Where do you go for advice regarding your business?
Although friends and family are the best resource and often the most available, outsiders – those who are not familiar with your business – are often the best resource. Perspective is everything. When you create a brand, a product, an investigation, there is no better feedback than an honest outsider’s opinion. It may hurt, but this is worth gold.
How much time/money do you spend on social media for your business?
We spend a lot of time on social media and updating our blog. The OSINT (open source intelligence) community practically lives on Twitter, and it’s imperative to get your name out there on that specific platform. We receive a few projects off of LinkedIn as well, which is always an important piece of the social media puzzle.
Does social responsibility play a role in your business?
Because of our close relationship with law enforcement, we are normally approached to help out with cases that touch the web in any way such, such as investigating a Facebook account of an ISIS sympathizer or analyzing the possible origins of a bomb threat email. We like to take these cases pro bono, as we figure we are “all in the same fight” and on the same team.
Do you feel that your business is particularly tailored to the Los Angeles market, or do you feel you could have launched it in another location?
Our business is relevant on a global scale. We work with partners all over the world and ultimately try to find a space in all industries of work. From business due diligence in Tel Aviv to terrorism cases in Los Angeles, we’re involved.