The Hills — Hammie Hill, Austin Hill, Hamnett Hill Jr.

Written by Courtney Aziz


Co-Founders, Zero-Knowledge Systems Inc.

Claim to Fame

Internet security and privacy pioneers


Ottawa, ON

Currently residing in

Calgary, Alberta and Montreal, Quebec

In 1997, the father-and-sons team of Hammie, Austin and Hamnett Hill identified a business opportunity in the convergence of consumers’ need for Internet security and privacy protection, business’s need to address those concerns, and government’s desire to ensure the policy environment reflected both of those developments.

The result was Zero-Knowledge, an Internet security and privacy pioneer that saw its rise to fame and importance skyrocket as Internet use soared in the late 1990’s. In its short history the company has raised more than $50 million in financing, established itself (and Canada) as a global voice on security and privacy, and has assembled some of the world’s top minds in this field as part of the team.

Today the company provides global organizations with software to manage the privacy of customer information, and equips individual consumers with the tools to protect their security and privacy on the Internet.

Reflecting on their success as Canadians, the Hills believe that Canada needs to focus on becoming an even stronger competitor in the new economy. “While Canada has a great reputation for engineers and technology, it needs to start to increase focus on retaining entrepreneurs and sales and marketing executives,” says CEO Austin. “It also needs to create a stronger venture capital system so that more Canadian companies find their future in dominating their markets rather than being acquisition material for non-Canadian based firms.”

With this focus in mind, today these three entrepreneurs are focused on the growth of Zero-Knowledge. They are aiming for a greater stability for the company to see it through upcoming challenges and exciting business opportunities that lie ahead as both Zero-Knowledge and the Hills continue to pursue global dominance in the security and privacy world.

This success story brought to you by The Leaf Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing Canadian success and involvement in the New Economy. Courtney Aziz is an Account Coordinator with public relations firm GCI Group (

© 2002 Courtney Aziz

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