This Cybersecurity CEO’s Funding Pivot Set His Company Up for Success
What survival days can teach us across industries in the COVID-era.
This week we hosted Aleksandr Yampolskiy, CEO and co-founder of cybersecurity, compliance and risk management industry-leader SecurityScorecard (SSC), in a one-on-one webinar discussion with our founder and CEO Matt Rizzetta, about the principles and value of transparency for this moment. The “Value at Every Touch Point: The New Age of Transparency” chat covered a wide range of topics, including best practices on how transparency can help foster a more collaborative, satisfied workforce to improve employee morale and connection; and how making transparency an operational cornerstone of a business positions companies for long-term success with customers and clients.
But one anecdote from Yampolskiy in particular stood out for its universal application across industries — especially at this moment.
At N6A, we value our survival days, those early times when you’re merely in survival mode when trying to start a business. It’s a fight for survival in every sense, when you’re doing whatever you can to stay scrappy to fight another day — hunting for revenue, defending yourself against the competition, and convincing people to join your no-name company’s mission.
Yampolskiy was the same. During the webinar, he related a story about SSC’s early years, which rings true today, especially backed by real-world experience when it comes to the true meaning and value of transparency in the COVID-19 era.
“You just gotta keep knocking on door after door until one of them opens,” Yampolskiy said. “Back when we were incubating SSC, we started talking to investors about raising a financing round. We went to this first famous investor, he looked at us and said, ‘Cybersecurity is too crowded, and you’re not going to be able to differentiate yourself,’ and he rejected us.”
Yampolskiy then began doubting himself, and his greater idea for the company, in the face of a prominent investor rejecting him. But it didn’t bring him all the way down. Instead, he pivoted to make that “no” into a “yes.”
“You just gotta make sure that the lows don’t get you too low, so we went to a second investor, and we preemptively incorporated the first objection in our pitch.”
Yampolskiy was rejected again, but in each subsequent pitch he’d proactively incorporate previous objections into the next. Eventually, an investor loved the idea for SSC, and the rest is history.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a radical shift in how businesses operate. With budgets being more heavily scrutinized and the pressure to bring products to market faster at an all-time high, many business leaders are focusing heavily on short-term sustainability while neglecting long-term growth.
Yampolskiy’s survival days story illustrates — now more than ever — how never backing down, and learning how to proactively pivot, means companies can position themselves for the future by fostering trust that will yield results over time. Whether you’re in sales, or PR, this lesson highlights how 2020 and beyond will require businesses to stay flexible, force them to completely change strategies, and meet business partners where they are to continue to make all the difference.
This was just a small peek into Yampolskiy’s journey and insights that are great for PR pros, marketing leaders, and executives in any industry. To learn more about rapid transparency, and how to effectively pivot in this economy, check out the full webinar on-demand, or reach out to talk about how we can support your long-and-short-term goals.
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