By Justin Beals, Strike Graph CEO
While CTO at a prior startup we had developed an amazing new AI product. Our product was an exciting innovation in the ability for companies to ethically utilize data science in hiring processes. For our product to work we required access to sensitive and private data. As the CTO it is my responsibility to ensure the security of all of our customers, their employees and applicants. I was also responsible for helping the sales team answer and support customer security requirements to efficiently close deals.
The number one issue for closing deals was the security review process. We had designed a very secure system. Gaining the trust of our customers that we had achieved security was a nightmare. Often taking six months to 24 months with one customer. I spent a lot of late nights answering excel spreadsheets full of questions. Or writing emails explain that we don't physically manage any servers. It was the biggest nightmare of my job and the place I felt the most helpless to solve.
Like a dog with a bone, I had to find some way to ease the pain of audited security certifications. As I researched the common security standards I was struck by the similarity to a problem I have worked on previously.
Over the past 15 years the education industry has been driven to an outcomes based activity. Federal laws dictate that all students will be routinely tested and taught on specific sets of standards. No two standard systems are the same, but they share 90% of the same requirements. It has led to a minor revolution in computer science and ontological information. It is obvious to me that these systems can be made healthy and more equitable to companies of all sizes. I have been developing award winning products to solve these issues for much of my career.
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The inefficiency of trust keeps innovating companies out of the marketplace. Our customers rely on us to develop a resume of security achievements that ensure trust is efficiently gained with procurement teams. Being able to generate trust can alleviate all kinds of revenue generation issues for companies. We've talked to companies that have reduced their time to close by 6 months and raised their average deal size from 5 digits to 6. We know that these obtuse security standards are not written to help you achieve them. The complexity of the standard system is developed mostly to ensure companies can use the standard effectively.
I'm so excited to get to launch Strike Graph. This is the third time I've been a founder and my second stint as a CEO. I have grand visions of what Strike Graph can do. I'm also very excited to savor all the hardship and opportunity afforded me. To learn and grow as a professional and thought leader.
I would be amiss if I didn't add just a couple of very important note of appreciation. Firstly my co-founder Brian Bero for being willing to jump in, in the middle of a pandemic and believe in the good we can bring to the world. Secondly, the team at Madrona Venture Labs. Especially Mike Fridgen, Jay Bartot, Henry Huang and Ishani Gujral have been my raconteurs and confidants. They have been critical in helping develop the business opportunity and ensuring I'm prepared to fight the best fight for Strike Graph. I can't thank them enough for their patience, persistence and authentic support.