Alexander Watson is co-founder and chief product officer at Gretel.ai, where he is building tools to help developers safely share and collaborate with sensitive data in real time. Prior to Gretel, Alex founded the security startup Harvest.ai that applied natural language processing and artificial intelligence to help businesses identify and protect key data in the cloud. Harvest.ai was acquired by Amazon Web Services in 2016, and as General Manager for Macie at AWS Alex launched Harvest.ai’s Macie as AWS’s first customer-facing security offering. Amazon Macie remains one of AWS’s top services, helping thousands of AWS customers such as Autodesk, Edmunds, and Netflix continuously monitor petabytes of content in their AWS cloud environments to identify and protect sensitive information. After completing his B.S. in computer science in 2002 at Indiana University, Alex joined the National Security Agency (NSA) where he served as a global network exploitation analyst and a field operations officer.
In 2009, he left the government to co-found BTS to modernize battlefield communications through rapidly deployable and secure cellular technology that could be deployed in mobile platforms such as vehicles and UAVs. At BTS, Alex developed a software-defined LTE core network and secure mobile platform to enable soldiers to communicate securely with smartphones such as the iPhone, which helped decrease the time for biometric device checks in the field from 36 hours to less than 60 seconds. This project resulted in the U.S. Army’s first deployment of 3G and 4G cellular networks, which has been accredited by NSA and operating in Afghanistan since 2011.