OT Security startup: 12 months post-seed funding

Jori VanAntwerp, CEO SynSaber
Jori VanAntwerp
CEO, SynSaber

SynSaber recently celebrated an important anniversary — it has been one year since our OT security startup received initial seed funding. 🥳

As we look back over the past 12 months, there are many milestones to celebrate and many factors that have contributed to where we are today.

The Right Partners

Whether you’re launching an OT security startup, a petting zoo, or a comic book store, everything comes down to the PEOPLE you’re partnering with. This is especially true in the early days of your journey.

The people and organizations you choose to partner with can be a force multiplier, or an unprecedented drag factor.

Co-Founder & VCs

Starting a business with anyone can be challenging, especially those you have a close relationship with. Clearly understanding each other’s motivations, expectations, and goals is crucial, which leads to true transparency.

Transparency is a term we see spoken and written about a lot. It’s important to a company’s growth, but without absolute transparency among the founders and leadership team, it’s challenging to find success or maintain direction.

Ron Fabela wookiee
Ron Fabela, Co-founder

◀️ My co-founder / co-pilot Ron Fabela brings balance to the Force of our leadership team. We often joke that the relationship between co-founders is similar to that of a marriage, with the same needs for honest communication, trust, and support.

A shared ethos and mission are also essential, which applies to the co-founder relationship AND the selection of VC partners.

As discussed in this article from SC Media, Ron and I met with over a dozen venture capital firms before we connected with the powerhouse trifecta of SYN Ventures, Rally Ventures, and Cyber Mentor Fund.

While the seed funding amount was important, the alignment of our ethos and business strategies was an even more critical element in our selection.

Team Growth

Since we received seed funding in Q2 of 2021, the SynSaber team has grown 300%. As I mentioned in a LinkedIn post, that’s not hard to do when you start with two people, but it’s still a pretty awesome stat. Our initial focus has been on research and development, and we’ll be recruiting for sales & marketing positions in the near future (keep an eye out on our Careers page for those roles).

Design Partners & Advisors

We’ve had the honor of building meaningful relationships with organizations in critical infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and strategic consultancies. When we first had the twinkle of an idea of what we wanted in our OT security product, our first step was to check our assumptions.

We reached out to our trusted advisors within the community, some of whom would become our future design partners, to see if the hypotheses we had formed were correct. Based on our previous experiences, we felt there was a need for increased visibility in OT environments, and that existing solutions were too complicated for most organizations to monitor or too difficult to scale.

This belief was validated by pre-launch market research and interviews we conducted with design partners and advisors. These trusted partners continue to be sources of growth and development for our product and our mission. 🤝

OT Security Software: Beta & 1.0 Launch

SynSaber 1.0 for Rapid OT Visibility

Initially, we had planned to launch the SynSaber beta in Q1 of 2022 and version 1.0 in Q2 of 2022. Thanks to our fantastic team members and guidance from our design partners & advisors, we accelerated our efforts and launched both the beta and MVP versions ahead of target — with beta launching in Dec. 2021, and 1.0 swiftly following in Feb. 2022.

Early Recognition

As excited as we were to launch our beta & 1.0 versions earlier than expected, nothing could prepare us for the elation we would feel with the news we received in May 2022.

SynSaber had been selected as one of 5 SC Award finalists for Best SCADA Security Solution! It was an honor to see our company’s name listed with industry veterans, especially considering the fact that our 1.0 version had just launched 3 months prior.

Ready for our Close-up

Our first venture into event sponsorships was at the vArmour Security Leaders Concert during Black Hat 2021. We had a blast, and are definitely looking forward to the Security Leaders Concert next week (join us!).

Then the S4x22 event felt like an ICS security homecoming, where we got to rekindle existing relationships and make a ton of new connections.

We’re ready to start sharing our OT visibility & detection software with a larger audience, and are excited to do so at the upcoming RSA Conference. If you’re attending RSAC, come visit us in the Early Stage Expo area at Booth ESE17.

You can also schedule a time to meet with Ron and me to chat about ICS security, critical infrastructure regulation, co-founder relationships, video games… you name it. 🎮

How it started
SynSaber founders 2022
How it’s going (some gray hairs, but still smiling)

When I reflect on the past 12 months, it’s encouraging to see how much the SynSaber team has already accomplished. We can’t wait to share what we’re cooking up in the coming months and years!

~Jori 🤘⚔️