We’re championing our SaaStock Founder Members. The leaders and experts building the SaaS companies today that’ll shape our industry and the world of SaaS tomorrow. In this series, we’ll be profiling some of our SFM members who’ve been a part of the membership to help them scale their SaaS. They deserve the spotlight, so let’s get right into it.
Today’s post features Oli Pinson-Roxburgh, a founder, SFM member, and SaaS business leader.
1. Who are you and what does your SaaS do?
Oli Pinson-Roxburgh CEO at defense.com, we provide a SaaS platform for all the cybersecurity tools and support you need as a business to grow with a security-first mindset.
Basically, we help business owners sleep at night.
2. When did you start your business? Did you do so alone? Explain why.
Over three years ago, we embarked on solving a challenge we identified through working with business consulting, testing and monitoring their cyber security.
Small businesses are struggling to get basic cyber security in place to limit their exposure. We already knew that the current providers in the market had built complex solutions that are difficult to manage, maintain and often require specialist staff that small businesses don’t have. They said they could not afford the services in the market and often the vendors they spoke to didn’t have a solution for their size. We could see a need for a SaaS product to service small businesses that provides good value for money, is affordable and easy for anyone to set up.
My co-founder Mark Boost and I wanted to really take the time to get it right before we launched and so spent the next three years growing the traditional security business whilst developing defense.com, our SaaS platform, getting it ready for launch this year.
3. As a SaaS founder, what’s that one challenge you are facing in your SaaS at the moment?
We have grown fast, and the bigger you get, the slower you become/feel. My co-founder and I discuss every week at least one trivial task we feel is taking longer than it should. I love being at the coalface, but realise that at our stage of growth, I need to be working on the company, not in it, which is hard when you are used to being closer to the action, influencing decisions. Getting the balance right is challenging.
4. How are you looking to overcome this?
We have adopted a project management tool that we will use to track major projects allowing myself and the leadership team to keep informed. We are also working hard to address some manual tasks with automation.
I am a believer that in the early stages, it’s ok to do things that don’t scale but now we are hitting the limits of productivity which is hampering us.
We have also had challenges with development speed and have introduced a more robust ticketing system and prioritisation process. It makes me feel that we are getting too big a company and are approaching the risk of slowing down further, but it is necessary and starting to have the right impact. We have also reduced the number of people required to approve things and people in meetings.
5. If you had a magic wand, what would you change (about your SaaS or externally) to enable faster growth?
Brand awareness is a big part of what we are missing, we are working hard to get in front of as many businesses as possible but think we needed more content earlier to build the brand as the thought leader in our space first.
I wish we had got more customers on our beta to understand our strategy for PLG sooner.
I would also like to have tested more to identify and gain a greater understanding of our target market earlier. We are already looking at changing who we target post-launch, which feels like we lost some early ground.
6. What do you wish you were told before you started/founded your company?
Spending time on an operating model is time well spent, invest time in writing one.
7. As a SaaStock Founder Member, what are the key learnings you’ve gained so far to get you closer to $10MM ARR?
- Be prepared to defend your brand and be bold when you do, don’t get bullied by larger businesses.
- It’s better to try small changes and learn rather than panic and make big adjustments especially in marketing.
- Start learning from customers early, watch how they interact with your app and websites and learn and be careful of analysis paralysis
- Get on top of compliance but stay agile, it will help in the longer term to win customers with confidence
8. Finally, what do you aspire to become, personally or professionally, within the next 12 months?
Be recognised as an innovator that made security simple.
If you are looking to achieve success all year round and be put in the spotlight, check out the SaaStock Founder Membership:
A private community of ambitious SaaS founders scaling to $10MM ARR. Get a support network of peers, connect with likeminded founders around the globe, and learn proven strategies from industry experts to help you scale up your SaaS. Apply now.