Since the beginning of 2021, five Israeli startups have gone public in the U.S. and raked in $10.7 billion. America lays claim to more than half of all unicorns globally and is home to the majority of leading uni-investors, which means it should easily set more records for newer upstarts by the end of the year.
I mention the Israel aspect because, in 2018, I co-founded the Tel Aviv-based Perimeter 81 which immediately had ambitions of joining these rarified ranks. Since then, our cybersecurity company has created a framework that has jump-started our success and placed us squarely in the center of the massive changes occurring in our industry. Here’s how we did it:
Since user experience (UX) focuses on the specific tasks customers undertake when interacting with a company, understanding their wants, needs and motivations will enable organizations to exceed expectations.
Startups should begin by establishing a mission-driven culture. Our goal was always to democratize cybersecurity so that small and large companies alike could consume the same level of protection. The mission married our customers into every aspect of our operation. Perimeter 81 built our team up with seven people that affirmed our genuine design-centric focus while guaranteeing we could address every pain point in engaging ways.
The initial goal should be to understand customer needs and immediately offer no-friction solutions that entice patrons to use your tools. With feedback and adjustments, you can then expand the relationship. This should always happen with an eye toward meeting their needs and by selling them only something you’d want to use yourself.
Everyone knows that you need to move fast in a startup, but data gives you the precision to translate your speed into real growth. Perimeter 81 quickly learned that to be a global force, we needed to differentiate ourselves by genuinely committing to the numbers. We hired a slew of scientists and business analysts that comprised the core of our company. This crew is at the center of every decision we make and they do it with data.
With such in-house expertise, it is possible to unleash this knowledge through aggressive marketing campaigns dialed into what your customers need at that moment in time. Every month, our marketing program is delivering about 10,000 leads. We invest heavily in digital marketing and gain immediate ROI with the new patrons we are onboarding.
When increasing our marketing, we noticed a disconnect between our number of qualified leads and the capacity of our sales team to convert them. We realized that we needed to build additional teams that could focus on longer-term business development required for working with companies of 1,000 or more employees. Data is critical for identifying any gaps as we scale and accelerate the growth of our business.
For all the amazingly talented additions we were adding to the team, we needed to empower them with transparency.
Together with our BI team, we created a comprehensive dashboard that reflects everything going on in the company in real-time. So everyone, from our product team to account managers, has access to the same information. The goal is to identify customer successes and gain context for new solutions. For example, most of our employees punch out while looking at the account review on a Slack channel and wake up in the morning checking what happened overnight. Now we know what we need, when we need it and innovate accordingly.
Similarly, we list the pricing plans of our solutions on our website—what you see is what you get. This level of transparency is a true differentiator in a growing sea of cybersecurity startups.
At the moment, we are onboarding almost 150 new customers every month and doing it from within our SaaS solution. They can sign on, attach a credit card or PayPal account, and start building their network and connecting all their security solutions.
It’s only through experimenting and failing that startups can truly identify and understand gaps in their complex products and simplify them to deliver a superior visitor experience.
Applying that curiosity across the company won’t make a unicorn of every startup, but it can create the kind of growth that can re-make an industry or create an entirely new one.
An earlier version of this blog was published on Entrepreneur.