Not so long ago I told you about my latest startup – @forcenock (a Web Application Security Solution). We were doing well, i.e., developed something cool.
It turned out other companies also thought so, and at the end of the day, Check Point offered us something we couldn’t refuse – money 🙂 & a welcoming environment to continue and develop our WAAP vision (will make sure to write more about it soon).
So, that was quick. Very quick.
To address the elephant in any exit – for how much did you sell for?
It was not a $500M exit. However, it was a lovely number for our 12-month-old bootstrap startup. And no, they are not allowing me to state the amount.
To address the other elephant – why we choose not to continue and build a “big company”?
First of all, this is always a group decision, and once someone places real money on the table, the dynamic changes.
Second, in our case, the sum offered made the math quite clear. It did not make sense taking the risk of moving forward especially when it is so hard to get CISOs attention nowadays (a topic worth a post in itself).
That about sums it up. Thought also to share a bit of what I’ve learned so far being in the start-up venture adventure (from ForceNock, ReSec, and my previous ventures/startups.)
- Friends, Friends & Friends –it is all (or mostly) based on intros from friends. Not surprising, considering the stage and domain (cyber), but it is a valuable insight. Get your friends involved with your ventures and ask for their help reaching people. Think about how they can help. Do not assume they will do that for you. Use LinkedIn to reconnect. (LinkedIn is excellent!)
- I was almost always lucky to have great partners with me — no exception to ForceNock. I just thought to throw that in here.
- Your competitors are not stupid, and there is no good outcome of bad-mouthing them, especially in front of potential clients. I even try to meet with my competitors and exchange ideas and learn. If done correctly, it is a win-win situation. Naturally, it is not always the case.
- Be a kind person. Good things will happen to good people. People are more likely to help you and join your cause.
- There are many great tools out there that can make your life easier. Example – Hubspot (shout out to my main man Ben Keller – fantastic solution and great people). Second thing, and I’m quoting Jeff Bajayo, “Automate the sh*t out of everything.” Using smart tools and thinking in advance about automation is the only way to go.
- Measure twice, cut once – take the time to double check the important things before committing. Example – A summary results you share with a partner; it is better to miss the deadline you have committed to than sending something half-baked that will require much explaining.
- Weeks of coding can save hours of planning J – Nothing to add about this. Just do it right the first time as much as you can.
- Even after you had a meeting with the CISO and he said: “let’s start a proof of concept (POC), that doesn’t mean anything. I am still trying to figure out why this is the case sometimes, which brings me to my next point.
- Have a clear, actionable ASK from customers, partners, etc. If you meet a potential customer, you should finish the presentation with a detailed next step section (example – the exact following steps needed for the POC). The same applies to meetings with colleagues who can assist you with something; make their lives easier – tell them what you need, and make it as detailed as possible.
- The right market – short answer: depends. Long answer: I felt EMEA and America’s customers were slower to engage and react compared to APAC’s customers. Promise to update at a later stage if it still holds. Startups need to pay close attention to their target markets and not state the US on an autopilot. Try to find the real numbers that justify your decision.
This post has turned out to be quite a long one. I’ve started with the goal to tell you more about the current status and derailed quickly. Sorry about that, but I hope you enjoyed it.
Keep Safe, and watch this space for updates (and my occasional rants!).
This article was written by Dotan Bar Noy, CEO at ForceNock, SIgmaLabs alumni.