Interview With Raffaele Mautone
Describe your product or service in 2-3 sentences:
With AaDya’s all-in-one cybersecurity platform for small and midsize businesses.
We believe the size of your business (or budget) shouldn’t limit your ability to combat cyber threats. That’s why we created a platform that is easy to install, easy to manage, and provides the 24/7 protection and support you deserve, at a price you can afford. We provide smart, simple, affordable and effective cybersecurity software solutions for small and midsize businesses.
Describe your company culture in 3 words:
dynamic, inclusive, family
Describe your company values in one sentence or more:
We are a Team - We work, trust and support one another.
Regardless of your role, you are an important part of our company and our future growth. Every day we strive to do these very things and are just nice to one another.
Raise the Bar - We inspire, challenge, and explore new opportunities to create world-class solutions for our customers. We strive to set high expectations, and then exceed them.
Customer-Driven - We focus relentlessly on providing customers with a unified platform, pricing and services designed specifically for them.
Making a Difference -. We seek to leave the world a better place every single day. We do this both through our mission of making the internet safer for our customers and by direct outreach in our community.
Change and Evolve - We recognize our industry is changing rapidly and constantly evolving, it is important to keep up. We value your contributions and encourage you to share your ideas.
Our team members are accountable, passionate, fun, honest, bold, trustworthy, innovative, diverse, risk takers, reliable, kind, creative, caring and professional.
What are you ultimately hoping to achieve with your business?
At AaDya, we believe the size of your business (or budget) shouldn’t limit your ability to combat cyber threats. That’s why we created a platform that is easy to install, easy to manage, and provides the 24/7 protection and support you deserve, at a price you can afford.
How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.
Venture capital and angel investors
How big is your team?
AaDya has 28 full-time team members.
Tell us about your team (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
At AaDya we value the contributions and encourage the ideas of every member of our team. We treat each other with kindness and push each other to do better. We learn, problem solve and create together. We put our customers first and strive to deliver the best solutions designed specifically for them. We believe in our impact and whether it’s with our families, team mates, customers or the world around us, we should work to make a difference, every day.
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
I had the opportunity to work for many successful companies and after serving in a variety of leadership roles, I decided it was time for me to add CEO and Founder to the list of roles I have held. I also was very familiar with the cybersecurity industry and saw a great need for small businesses to have access to enterprise-grade solutions.
How did you come up with your startup idea?
AaDya’s formula for success begins with a genuine desire to help our SMB customers succeed. We are confident we can transform the industry by delivering an accessible cybersecurity solution that goes above and beyond to provide the freedom and confidence to focus on what they do best.
How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?
The first two letters are the initials of my two daughters' names and the D is capitalized as we are very proud to be headquartered in Detroit. From there I started to google AAD and found AaDya. I wanted to follow the same tribal affect as some of the other companies I previously worked for, where the name was often mispronounced, but it had a story that others related to. Our users and partners often ask about our name and now they know the story and get a better idea of our culture and brand.
What is something that makes your company unique?
Cybersecurity remains at the forefront of many leaders’ minds as the need increases to protect their companies. However, small businesses do not own security software because of prioritization, cost, internal knowledge, specific expertise, dedicated security staff, etc.
The AaDya difference Is a proactive approach to secure small businesses' most valuable information and unmatched service supporting their IT and security needs. AaDya can help drive efficiency and our team of security professionals will provide exceptional employee and customer experience, set-up and support.
What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?
I think the two biggest hurdles for us, are in the areas of Finance and Hiring. Both are a lot like walking a tightrope when you start a company especially as you set up payroll, taxes and HR. I really missed my extended teams from past lives that made this all look so easy. I think another challenge that every start up faces is hiring the right people who really believe in what you are doing and understand what it takes to work at a start up. It’s not for everyone.
Is this your first business? If not, how did your experiences with past businesses influence your decision to start this new business?
AaDya is my first business and I founded it with the premise to simplify cyber security needs for small businesses with smart protection and to save companies from attacks. After spending nearly 20 years in the IT and cybersecurity industry, he knew there weren’t any solutions in the market that address these needs, yet cyber security remains at the forefront of many leaders’ minds as the need increases to protect their companies. Most small businesses don’t own security software because of prioritization, cost, internal knowledge, specific expertise or having a dedicated security team. AaDya’s flexible, comprehensive solution with multiple cloud-based offerings is a unified approach to what small businesses need. Our Artificial Intelligence and machine learning solution differentiates us from our competition.
Who is your product or service made for?
Small and mid-sized businesses
What's your marketing strategy?
AaDya Security communicates with our customers by:
Providing an email newsletter with company news, product information, and security information for small businesses.
Using targeted Google and Facebook advertisements.
Utilizing social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
Providing contact information on the company website.
Host weekly product demos
To grow the company, AaDya Security will do the following:
As business grows, advertise in target markets
Network at start-up, technology and small business conferences
Establish a company website containing engaging content about our services
As the business grows, advertise in publications that reach our target industries
Add channel partners ( boutique security firms and B2B)
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
All-in-one doesn’t mean one-size-fits-all. We understand that different businesses have different needs -- we offer three levels of service to best meet our customers needs. When we first began our company, we partnered with several customers across different verticals to really understand their wants and needs. This was instrumental in designing and building our product. More than 90% of our initial design partners remain our customers today. We also have several partners that we work with who recommend our product to their customers.
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
We are partner driven and are always looking at this through two lenses and asking ourselves how do we make a program that enables them to grow as well as how users use our platform.
How has your approach to managing your business changed from when you started to now?
When we first began we were really focusing on small and medium businesses directly. We have since realized that working directly with channel partners (boutique security firms and B2B) has worked really well for us
If you could go back in time and change anything about your entrepreneurial journey, would you?
Looking back, I think I would have changed how we hired and when. I would have taken a more bootstrap approach with a longer timeline.
What is the biggest lesson you learned during your journey?
Starting a company is not for the faint of heart. You will be told "no" at least 20 times a day, however you can't let this get to you and have to remain focused on your goal.
Who is your support system?
I am very fortunate to have a supportive family, group of friends and past co-workers.
Who or what inspired you to start your business?
My uncle started his own business in 1975, without any help. He was from Italy and his story truly epitomizes the American dream. Today it’s one of the top pizza places in the area and continues to grow each year adding more franchises. I know his journey was difficult at times, but seeing the rewards he has reaped years later has inspired me to do the same.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by getting things done and making sure our users and team members are enjoying this chapter of our journey.
What’s the #1 resource you rely on for success?
Reading books, Blogs and LinkedIn
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success?
I had to dust off my project management skills and really learn the finance process.
How do you define success?
To me success is continuing to see partners and customers benefiting from our product and having our team members happy and enjoying what we do.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
Surviving all of the unknowns of starting a new company during a global pandemic. I still smile thinking that a start up at our stage not only survived but we also raised $2.7M during this time.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Starting a company is hard work and you should surround yourself with people who believe in what you are doing.
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More on AaDya Security
AaDya Security’s mission is to provide effective cybersecurity to small and medium-sized businesses that is powerful, easy to use, and affordable.
We were fortunate enough to hear some valuable insights during our interview with Raffaele Mautone of AaDya Security that will inspire, motivate, and teach aspiring and established entrepreneurs alike.
We have developed this list of five creative and impactful ways to support cybersecurity startup AaDya Security.