Interview With Tristan Kalos & Antoine Carossio
Describe your product or service & the problem it's solving:
“Escape enables developers to secure their APIs. We generate realistic requests and continuously fire them at API endpoints in development. Companies like Neo4J use us to spot security vulnerabilities before they hit production.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“Without even noticing it, everyone uses web APIs. Be it for sending a WhatsApp message or a bank wire, APIs are the data pipelines for the world.
But most of them are vulnerable to hackers. Up to 92%. And if a single vulnerability is exploited by attackers, it can lead to the leaking of data of thousands of people and millions of dollars of damage.
Tristan was a seasoned freelance developer. He witnessed the problem with his own eyes while he was working for a customer. He saw an entire company database being stolen in 2018 through an API he developed himself.
Our CTO Antoine was previously a security engineer at the French intelligence services and next at Apple. He quickly realized that APIs were one of the most vulnerable ways of attacks.
When they met at UC Berkeley, Tristan and Antoine decided to start working together to build secure apps. They quickly thought there was no solution for developers to build secure APIs. This is how they came out with the idea of Escape.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“One pre-seed round [of] $1 million, and currently finalizing our seed round.”
Who is your target market? How did you determine this?
“Our target is modern, midmarket companies in regulated industries or that cannot afford service disruption:
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“Inbound! Using our blog and by communicating on LinkedIn and Twitter.”
What is your primary marketing strategy?
“Content marketing (On our blog) and Engineering as marketing (Releasing free tools such as graphql.security).”
Feeling inspired? Learn how to launch your company with our guide on how to start a startup.
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
- “Seven-day retention to measure activation
- Number of software vulnerabilities fixed
- Annual Contract Value”
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered while launching your company? How did you overcome it?
“Our company relies on a unique cybersecurity technology we developed in-house. Getting a tech product from R&D to market is hard [and] takes time and effort. There is a huge gap between the first prototype and the Minimum Lovable Product people actually enjoy using.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“How much every month, you evolve as a person and think differently. The learning pace is insane.”
What is your #1 piece of advice for startup founders?
“Invest in content day one!”
More on Escape
Escape enables developers to secure their APIs by helping to spot security vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. This is Escape’s story.
Tristan Kalos and Antoine Carossio, co-founders of Escape, join the podcast to discuss how getting hacked helped them find their startup idea, their R&D story, and the power of content marketing.