Entrepreneurs Feature — Banff Cyber
In this week’s Entrepreneurs Feature we had a chat with Matthias Chin who is the Founder and CEO of Banff Cyber, a cybersecurity start-up. Banff Cyber creates innovative solutions in the area of web, logs and cloud security. We grabbed the chance to ask Matthias 5 questions about his and his team’s exciting entrepreneurial journey.
- What are the benefits of being in BLOCK71 start-up ecosystem?
We are thankful to be part of the BLOCK71 ecosystem because it helps us in many practical ways. When we first started with a team of 4 about 4 years ago, we had no office space and BLOCK71 provided that conducive physical environment for us to work together when we were developing our first prototype. We didn’t have to worry about aircon, water, internet access, etc and we could put our full focus on getting our first prototype out as fast as possible.
The community was also very important as we met many fellow start-up founders, developers, marketeers, investors, etc whom we had the privilege of interacting with and learning from. Most importantly, I have met a few good friends at in the BLOCK71 ecosystem and even till today we constantly keep in touch and encourage one another in our entrepreneurship journey even though some may have physically moved out of BLOCK71.
2. Who is your greatest source of inspiration and why?
The story of David and Goliath (both the bible and Malcolm Gladwell’s versions) inspires me greatly. It inspires me because I identify a lot with David as a start-up founder. Just like David, we have to face many “giants” in our journey. It could be problems to solve, doing our investor pitches, presenting to large potential customers, competing with large global competitors, etc. The story of David reminds me to have lots of courage to face the giants and that to win, we cannot play by the “normal” methods. We must be agile, innovative, leverage on our strengths and most importantly have a positive mindset so that we can overcome the giants!
3. The team is one of the most important factors for a start-up, how did you build your team?
The first team was a motley crew of my own friends and a few fresh grads who applied to our job posts. We were fortunate to find a team of people with the right chemistry to work together to launch our first prototype and to get our first set of customers. Once they are on board, we believe in developing our staff so that they will also grow as individuals and in their careers.
We have also supported many of our team members to enhance their skills through paid training and also part time Masters studies, etc. The goal is to build a strong core team with good team dynamics, common values and a united goal to grow the company together.
4. Where did your entrepreneurial journey start?
I worked for various large local and MNC companies for 12 years before I quit my stable full time job to start my first cyber security start-up called Banff Cyber. At that time, I saw many problems in the cyber world which the large global companies could not solve. As such, I saw that there were many opportunities in the cyber space for start-ups and we were glad to get the Spring TECS grant to build the first prototype of our WebOrion Security product. We have not looked back since as we are very pleased to see our WebOrion service helping many people/companies in many countries fortify their websites against cyber attacks such as defacements, data breach, DDOS, etc.
5. Share with us your worst nightmare when you initially started out!
Thankfully no major nightmares, but in the beginning we were very concerned about the tight resources (cashflow, manpower,etc) and there was a lot of uncertainty on whether anyone would buy our product and if it would take off.
The tight resources taught us to be very focused and even though our product was very imperfect, we took the courage to pitch to many customers, did demos and proof of concepts for them and we are very glad to have acquired many large enterprise/government customers in Singapore, Australia, Philippines, India, Hong Kong and South Africa. That’s why the story of David is so important as it reminds us that we can overcome “giants” and succeed against the odds! It certainly helps that we have the support of our family members and friends and definitely being connected to the BLOCK71 community helps as well!
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