gmhTODAY 20 gmhToday June July 2018 - Page 109

Steve Curd is soft-spoken and smart . He has the mind of an inventor , with patents to prove it , and the wellhoned instincts of a successful serial entrepreneur . It ’ s a rare combination that has served him well in life .

His current effort is Scaeva Technologies , an ambitious startup conceived to protect the creative work of musicians and filmmakers from the dark world of digital piracy .
Steve ’ s wife and business partner , Wendy , named the company after one of Julius Caesar ’ s legendary centurions , Marcus Cassius Scaeva , to convey the robust nature of its patented technology .
Despite today ’ s low-cost and dead-simple options to stream or download songs and movies legally , piracy is still on the rise . It ’ s a thorny problem for artists struggling to preserve the authenticity and economic value of original works .
A Common Thread in a Diverse Career
Steve ’ s career has taken several turns through very different industries , but as he explains it , a common thread ties everything together .
It all began when he was a young boy growing up in a small midwestern town . A neighbor woman named Olive was suffering from Lou Gehrig ’ s disease . Her struggle with the debilitating disease brought out Steve ’ s inventive side .
“ As Olive grew worse , she couldn ’ t talk or walk . I took an old Atari computer , developed motion-sensing and voice synthesizer software , and hooked it up to some speakers . It was primitive , but it allowed her to communicate by interacting with a touchpad . It was just a little way of helping her stay connected with her loved ones .”
That experience of using technology to address an unmet need stayed with Steve throughout his life .
During the 1970s and 80s , he worked his way up to a senior executive position in the technology division at American Airlines where he worked on SABRE , which became the airline industry ’ s first automation platform .
“ SABRE disrupted the industry with a faster and far more efficient way to manage airline reservations .”
On the heels of that success , Steve decided to quit his job and move his family to the East Coast so he could sharpen his leadership skills at the Wharton School of Business .
“ I ’ d moved to Philadelphia before going through the traditional application process and the school admissions people weren ’ t going to accept me . ‘ If not this year , I ’ ll just try again next year ,’ I said . It was probably my sheer determination to study there that got me in .”
From Airlines to Healthcare
After graduation , Steve shifted his focus to healthcare technology and took the reins as Vice President of Technology and Software at UnitedHealthcare .
“ There were enormous challenges . I was hoping to replicate what had been achieved in automating the airline industry , in healthcare . For ten years we focused on building new systems to help tackle the high cost and complexity of healthcare delivery .”
From there , Steve was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Healtheon , which ultimately merged with WebMD . After that he launched Oncoverse , a real-time online collaboration platform for cancer diagnostics , which quickly sold to a pharmaceutical company .
“ Looking back , I had participated in more than a dozen mergers and acquisitions , turnarounds , company reorganizations , and an IPO . The 1980s and 90s were a period of extraordinary growth and tech innovation with electronic health records , surgical information systems , care team coordination , and personalized medicine .”
Room to Breathe in South County
During the early 2000s , Steve left Silicon Valley to find some breathing room in South County .
“ I wanted to own some land , live near a small town , but not too far from the airport because business requires a lot of travel . Gilroy was perfect .”
“ No sooner had I found a place and moved in than I looked out the back window to see a stranger riding a horse in my arena ! I learned that she had a business buying and selling horses , and my neighbor , who sells hay , had suggested she ride in the arena , which hadn ’ t been used in a while . She was delightful , so of course I said , ‘ You can ride here any time you like !’ That ’ s how I met Wendy , and we were married two years later .” As Steve settled into married life , he did some soul searching about his career .
“ I kept thinking , what ’ s next ? Another healthcare company ? Where can I have an impact ? Looking back , it ’ s funny how that thinking led me to Scaeva Technologies .”
Music to His Ears
“ I ’ ve always loved music . As a college freshman I majored in music before switching to technology , and I played saxophone and sang for years . Of our adult kids , Wendy ’ s daughter shares that love of music . We ’ ve watched her work hard to build a career in music and looked for ways to be supportive . It got me thinking about how piracy made it tough for musicians to protect their work and livelihood in a digital world .”
Around that same time , a colleague introduced him to Geoff Boyd , a Cambridgeeducated scientist for whom Steve quickly developed a high level of respect . Geoff held a patent for an algorithm to encrypt and decrypt ( scramble and unscramble ) digital content . Steve thought it could be used to protect music without distorting it .
“ No musician or music producer is going to use technology that alters the original work in any way . I coded encryption software algorithms using Jeff ’ s advanced mathematics , tested it , and it worked . I now had a way to protect the art of music and cinema industry professionals , which led to the founding of Scaeva Technologies with Geoff as part of the team .”
Estimates are that $ 30 billion worth of digitized music and film content will be stolen this year alone . This number is expected to hit $ 50 billion by the year 2020 . If the world ’ s artists have no control over the work they create , how can they survive ?
Hackers and pirates work to infiltrate electronic networks and steal content without being detected . They look for points of vulnerability . For this reason , Steve and his team have built protection into the entire music delivery system , including the computers , speakers and headphones we use to enjoy music and movies .
When Team Scaeva previewed their new technology at a recent conference of the National Association of Music Merchants in San Francisco , prospective customers took notice , giving high marks to performance and user-friendly design .
Knowing that this work can accelerate the application of science to have a positive and far-reaching impact on industry and society keeps Steve motivated .
“ This is an ongoing problem . There ’ s no quick fix . We have to keep raising the bar to protect what artists create in an increasingly digital world .”
Learn more at scaevatech . com .
GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JUNE / JULY 2018 gmhtoday . com
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S teve Curd is soft-spoken and smart. He has the mind of an inventor, with patents to prove it, and the well- honed instincts of a successful serial entrepreneur. It’s a rare combination that has served him well in life. His current effort is Scaeva Technologies, an ambitious startup conceived to protect the creative work of musicians and filmmakers from the dark world of digital piracy. Steve’s wife and business partner, Wendy, named the company after one of Julius Caesar’s legendary centurions, Marcus Cassius Scaeva, to convey the robust nature of its patented technology. Despite today’s low-cost and dead-simple options to stream or download songs and movies legally, piracy is still on the rise. It’s a thorny problem for artists struggling to pre- serve the authenticity and economic value of original works. A Common Thread in a Diverse Career Steve’s career has taken several turns through very different industries, but as he explains it, a common thread ties everything together. It all began when he was a young boy growing up in a small midwestern town. A neighbor woman named Olive was suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. Her struggle with the debilitating disease brought out Steve’s inventive side. “As Olive grew worse, she couldn’t talk or walk. I took an old Atari computer, developed motion-sensing and voice synthesizer soft- ware, and hooked it up to some speak- ers. It was primitive, but it allowed her to communicate by interacting with a touchpad. It was just a little way of helping her stay connected with her loved ones.” That experience of using technology to address an unmet need stayed with Steve throughout his life. During the 1970s and 80s, he worked his way up to a senior executive position in the technology division at American Airlines where he worked on SABRE, which became the airline industry’s first automation platform. “SABRE disrupted the industry with a faster and far more efficient way to manage airline reservations.” On the heels of that success, Steve decided to quit his job and move his family to the East Coast so he could sharpen his leadership skills at the Wharton School of Business. “I’d moved to Philadelphia before going through the traditional application process Music to His Ears and the school admissions people weren’t going to accept me. ‘If not this year, I’ll just try again next year,’ I said. It was probably my sheer determination to study there that got me in.” From Airlines to Healthcare After graduation, Steve shifted his focus to healthcare technology and took the reins as Vice President of Technology and Software at UnitedHealthcare. “There were enormous challenges. I was hoping to replicate what had been achieved in automating the airline industry, in health- care. For ten years we focused on building new systems to help tackle the high cost and complexity of healthcare delivery.” From there, Steve was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Healtheon, which ultimately merged with WebMD. After that he launched Oncoverse, a real-time online collaboration platform for cancer diagnos- tics, which quickly sold to a pharmaceutical company. “Looking back, I had participated in more than a dozen mergers and acquisitions, turn- arounds, company reorganizations, and an IPO. The 1980s and 90s were a period of extraordinary growth and tech innovation with electronic health records, surgical information systems, care team coordination, and personalized medicine.” Room to Breathe in South County During the early 2000s, Steve left Silicon Valley to find some breathing room in South County.