When you’re building a startup, it is easy to get caught up in creating the product itself and assume that the technology is the most important thing. But Jacob Hansen argues that an early focus on users is necessary in finding product/market fit. And as your company grows, attracting the right talent becomes just as important as the technology itself. Jacob is the co-founder and CEO of Cobalt, a security platform that is reinventing the pen test for web applications, mobile apps and APIs. An advocate of crowdsourcing and cybersecurity, Jacob has been featured in Forbes and The Verge, and he has delivered keynotes at OWASP AppSec USA and O’Reilly Security NYC, among other international conferences. Prior to his work with Cobalt, Jacob served as a consultant with Accenture, delivering Enterprise IT Solutions for Fortune 100 clients. Today, Jacob joins us to discuss the need for cybersecurity and explain the concept of pen testing. He speaks to the growth of Cobalt, describing the company’s milestones, the scaling of its values, and his evolving role as CEO. Listen in for Jacob’s insight around product/market fit, the importance of attracting talent, and why persistence is key in building a company!

Topics Covered

The need for online security Bad actors try to get something of value Access to bank account, cryptocurrency Damage reputation or influence election

The definition of pen testing ‘Good hackers’ test security of apps Blend art and science to find issues

How Jacob got interested in security Background in finance and business Lost Bitcoin in hack of large exchange Learned key management

How to scale values as your startup grows Live values every day Transparency, openness and hard work

How Jacob and his co-founders got to the US Start company in Buenos Aires Accepted to Boost VC Tribe 3

The advantages of being in Silicon Valley Makes fundraising easier Learn to build, scale faster

The big milestones for Cobalt they scale up Move to Silicon Valley $1M raise in angel round Finding product/market fit Hit $1M in revenue Learn to manage team of 50

Jacob’s insight on product/market fit Mistake to build product first Focus on sales early on

The top themes in the security space Developers/engineers responsible for fixing issues Collaboration between developers and engineers

Jacob’s assumptions on how to start a company Thought all about technology Realizes importance of sales, hiring

Jacob’s role as a ‘decentralist’ Central institution storing data bound to go wrong Cobalt empowers talent to work directly with clients

How to evaluate security testing talent Rating system Find exploits and explain potential damage

Jacob’s advice around fundraising Celebrate the NO Persistence is key

How Jacob grows with his shifting role at Cobalt Read several books on each new function Listen to podcasts and reach out on LinkedIn

Jacob’s definition of success Respected by friends, peers Accomplish something of value

United States


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