You’ve no doubt heard about some of the cyber attacks that have impacted large businesses and even governments in recent years. But small and medium sized businesses can fall victim to similar types of attacks as well.
Strongarm is a small business that aims to help those small and medium sized businesses avoid cybersecurity issues. Read more about the business below in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Provides security to small and medium sized businesses.
Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Todd O’Boyle told Small Business Trends, “Strongarm provides cloud-based, automated, and simple-to-use security that focuses on stopping attacks from damaging small and mid-sized businesses and speeding the process of cleaning up cybersecurity infections.”
Providing personal service.
O’Boyle says, “We’re known for “team and touch.” Our team will talk to you every time we protect you from a cyberattack, not just when your license is up for renewal. We get to know our customers personally. Strongarm was built from the ground up to be simple and easy to use while most security solutions are more complicated with way too many features and complexity than is needed.”
How the Business Got Started
In a government lab.
O’Boyle explains, “Strongarm was built in a government lab at The MITRE Corporation. Our Vice President of Engineering Stephen DiCato and I were principal investigators there. In 2013, we met Allied Minds and they were interested in commercializing technology from government labs. They supplied us with seed money and we joined as the first two employees. We’ve been at it for two and a half years now.”
Getting their first customer.
O’Boyle says, “Our biggest win was the first time anyone paid us for our product. We found the customer through an old MITRE Corporation contact that worked as a security analyst. The customer is a global financial solutions company with 1,500 employees and has a somewhat mature information security team of three to five people. They weren’t finding any sophisticated security solutions in their price range until they found us. It wasn’t a lot of money at the time, but they’re still a customer and are now our biggest customer. They’re one of the customers that drives our product features and they’re early adopters of everything that we launch.”
Targeting small businesses.
O’Boyle explains, “The biggest risk we have is our customer focus – SMBs. Large customers bring large revenues and float you to more fundraising more quickly. With our SMB focus, we need to better understand their businesses to shorten the sales cycle and we also need to scale to a larger volume of SMB customers. Achieving this scaling is something we work on every day.”
Don’t always take the easy road.
O’Boyle says, “When you’re starting a business, there are a million different ways you can take it. Many times entrepreneurs take the seemingly “easy road” by partnering with big companies or with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that sell their solutions. We did this as well. In hindsight, I would have not spent the first year and a half chasing big deals that wound up going nowhere. If I could go back, I would have gotten out and hustled more to talk with potential SMB customers about our product.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
O’Boyle says, “We have an awesome product and to achieve the volume growth for the business, I would spend the extra $100K doing more outreach to SMBs where we can get out and talk to more SMBs face to face.”
O’Boyle explains, “The official company drink is “The Bobby”, named after our first salesperson, Bobby Preston. It consists of a late afternoon espresso plus a glass of plain Polar seltzer. In fact, all of us drink a ton of Polar seltzer – more than we were designed to consume with only one bathroom in the office! Although we like almost all the regular flavors, as opposed to the seasonal flavors, cranberry lime is the clear winner.”
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” -Antoine de Saint Exupery