First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
I’m in Italy right now and hopefully the worst has passed now. We are gradually returning back to our normal life although with some exception and restriction.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company
We founded our company after the CitiMobile Challenge 2015. We won 4 awards at that competition from companies like Mastercard, IBM, PwC so we thought… why not to start a company on our own!
How does your company innovate?
Innovation comes from knowledge and people. We interact with the customers, advisors and partners to understand where the market is heading and what they want to see from us, but then we hire the best people that can execute that vision. We also talk internally, we do a lot of sync up and reunions to understand internally the status of the business and try to improve it further.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Coronavirus has put the break on all sales activities dedicated to direct sales. Unfortunately at this time generating new leads or meeting with the customer is not possible, but at the same time we have found a way to make it work through partnerships. Being a cybersecurity product company, we can just focus on establishing partnerships with vendors which have actually increased their sales and we can partner with them and be a component of their solution.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Hiring/Firing people has always been the most difficult activity, as it makes the company. How to find the required people and knowing when is the time to let an employee go are the most critical issue to resolve being a startup. I believe the right answer to this is Hire Fast/Fire Fast, be trustful and don’t waste too much time if you feel this is a good hire, but be aware of what are the expectations. You need to know in advance what are the numbers you believe need to be satisfied in order to keep the hiring. If you don’t know them, then wait to hire until you have.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and your company in the future ?
I try to balance work/life as much as possible. I tried to do a long burst of work and I found myself being too stressed and ageing even faster.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
We have many competitors in our space, some even large unicorn companies, but we have seen that they are not as technologically advanced as we thought. Also, the market opportunities are huge and some of the regions in the world are not yet served. If we focus on building the best available technology and we find the right partners we can get a great share of the market from our competitors.
Your final thoughts
Creating a startup is like being on a role-playing adventure. If you can’t find the right people to play with you’re never going to win.
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