Entrepreneur Shrav Mehta has already raised tens of millions of dollars for his security startup, and they have a lot of room to grow.
On the Dealmakers Show, Mehta shared his insights on building your team, cyber security. And how to know you’ve got a winning startup idea, and should quit your job. Plus, fundraising, how to pitch well, and investor expectations change by funding round.
Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
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Born Into Tech
Shrav Mehta is one of those very fortunate entrepreneurs to have been born in the Bay Area. He was birthed right into the Silicon Valley startup and tech scene, immersed in all the innovation that was happening, and found it truly inspired him.
By the time he was nine years old he was already getting into computers and coding. Computers instantly fascinated him. He loved playing with them, and taking them apart. Pretty quickly that turned into a love of gaming, and learning how to code for himself.
He pretty quickly learned about security, and both the good and bad of it. In high school he wanted to figure out his schedule, and know which classes had the hard versus easy teachers and so on, before signing up for them.
Shrav says that he found his way into the school’s scheduling software to help him do this. Not stopping there, he decided to help his friends by sharing the information with them as well.
Or course, when the school administration figured it out, he was called in by the principal. At first it looked like he was going to be in some trouble. Though some of the staff wanted to know the same things, and how to fix the system. It turned out okay, but that was a big introduction to security, and how he could actually be helping people.
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When To Quit Your Job
What really propelled Shrav Mehta into the tech space is the advent of the iPhone and Android. All of a sudden everyone had these devices with them, the App Store launched, and as a programmer it was much more engaging than looking at a terminal screen.
Shrav says that he taught himself various programming languages, though veered toward Android, as it didn’t have the costs or time lag of iOS. You could just create an app and instantly go live with it.
Over the next year he pushed out 10 apps, working on them after school and over the weekends.
However, one of the games he built with his friends didn’t end up being the huge instant hit that he had come to expect. It was a wake up call that there were much larger and more sophisticated developers out there. Those with big teams, lots of dollars, and who knew the marketing, sales, and business side of the app space.
He met with Google and Zynga to see how they were doing it. Then decided to learn by going to work for some other fast growth tech startups as they scaled.
Shrav continued to tinker with his own projects. Whether that was coding or woodworking. He stayed very wired into the ecosystem, and what new tech and hardware was being developed. As well as the challenges various startups were facing.
One of the biggest things he noticed was the enormous amounts of money startups were spending on security consultants. Security was incredibly complex and technical. Yet, without the right certifications in place startups couldn’t secure enterprise customers. It was essential to have.
Shrav began creating templates for this. Which attracted a lot of attention. So, he began asking people if he built a product to automate it all for them, would they pay for it? He got some yeses. That turned into an urgent need for it. That was the aha moment for him, and his quit his job to launch his startup Secureframe
Secureframe offers their service with an annual fee based upon the certifications you need, and the size of your business, and are working on adding many other services and products to their platform as well.
Looking forward, Shrav says that he expects the security space to keep evolving over the next 10 years, with new standards emerging. He expects his company to be the leading name companies choose to use.
When Shrav Mehta began pitching his startup to investors for their seed round they met a good deal of questions and resistance.
It was a complicated product, in a space that investors weren’t even sure was real, or that there was a real problem there. The pitch wasn’t connecting. It needed to be simplified. He says they needed to be able to boil it down to a three minute pitch to give the high level idea, grab attention, and hook investors.
Ultimately, they were fortunate to meet a couple of funds that had already been researching this space, saw the opportunity, and wanted to fund something. That got them their seed round funding.
By the Series A round the space was much more developed, and Secureframe has some data to show on their traction. They had also been prepping investors with memos prior to meetings, so that they already got the concept when they arrived to pitch.
By their Series B they had a lot more data. Other companies had been raising big rounds, at big valuations, and that helped investors see the possibility of going to 10x, or a $100B public company in the future. Secureframe could show their revenues, net dollar retention, and more.
To date, they’ve now raised $79M.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Shrav Mehta was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- Building your team
- Great books for entrepreneurs
- The future of security
- Shrav Mehta’s top advice for starting a business