Neil Patel

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In a recent episode of The Dealmakers’ Podcast, we had the privilege of speaking with the visionary leader behind Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad, a groundbreaking cybersecurity company that is transforming the landscape of digital protection.

This conversation delved deep into V8’s journey, from its inception to remarkable accomplishments. His venture, Resilience Insurance, has attracted funding from top-tier investors like General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Corey Thomas, and Intact Ventures.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Growing up in a culturally diverse community that laid the foundation for understanding unity, reliance, and mutual support as essential elements in cybersecurity and innovation
  • The turning point of 9/11 highlighting the need for innovative cybersecurity strategies that combine technical excellence with an empathetic understanding of adversaries.
  • Understanding how the digital revolution has integrated cybersecurity into daily life
  • Marking a paradigm shift where cyber risks are an intrinsic aspect of our interconnected world.
  • A journey showcasing the power of adaptability, as a shift from selling technology to underwriting cyber insurance, leading to a transformative pivot and the creation of a holistic approach to cyber resilience.
  • Aligning investor expectations with realistic projections and valuations forms the cornerstone of successful growth, requiring transparency, credibility, and a shared vision.
  • Navigating a global workforce necessitating intentional communication, empathy, and frequent gatherings to foster unity and clarity across geographically dispersed teams.
  • Future of Cybersecurity in a world where cyber threats are no longer sensationalized headlines envisioning a future where comprehensive cybersecurity strategies make malicious activities less viable, creating a safer digital environment for all.


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About Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad:

A veteran of both the U.S. Air Force and the cybersecurity industry, Vishaal provides the leadership skills he honed in his years with the NSA to his position as CEO of Resilience, responsible for the strategic direction of the company. Known across the industry as ‘V8’, Vishaal co-founded Resilience in 2017.

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Connect with Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad:

Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

Alejandro Cremades: Um, already hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerr show. So today. We have a very exciting founder. We’re going to be talking about the good stuff that we like to hear building scaling financing. Yeah and exiting I mean there’s a founder that has an exit underneath his belt and he’s doing something really remarkable in a very yeah. Exciting industry right? now you know everyone is talking about what they’re up to so I guess without far ado let’s welcome our guest today and let’s see if I say it right? that is visal hiri prasat and also known as v eight welcome to the show.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Alejandro. Thank you so much I think you just said my name perfectly. But the nickname does make it easier for others I really do appreciate that though. Thanks for having me.

Alejandro Cremades: I love it I love it. Well we ate let’s say and let’s do a little of a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up being born and raised in New York city

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Oh it was it was amazing um you know I was very very fortunate and lucky to have be surround by loving family. A great community. You know I was born in the South Bronx very strong caribbean guy andese culture around me lot of great trinidadti and Puerto rican and jamaican culture as well. Um. But it was really just just wonderful to have that community atmosphere the understanding and reliance on each other to survive to make it and to appreciate each other for what you can do.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, so what? what ended up getting you into um into math and you know technology I mean what? what? what developed the love for for all those things.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: It’s a good question so you know growing up. Um as a young kid we were right under the flight path for Laardia airport and I would all see the planes coming overhead from from my grandparents um walk up and I knew from a young age I wanted to be a pilot and I fell in love with aviation.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Less computers because they weren’t really a thing backland or at least not not in the personal sense. Um, but fast forward a couple of years I was in high school when Nine Eleven happened and I was actually I remember this very clearly I was in in Fetty Hall and I remember watching the the towers get hit. And I was also going through my selection list for for the schools I wanted to go to um at the very top of it was the us air force academy great spot to become a ah pilot. But I also realized at that point there was much more than just flying that really mattered to me. Um. And I think you know my my hometown I had friends and and relatives that were in some of those towers. Thankfully they got out but some of their coworkers didn’t um but it really it really struck me the importance of service as well and the opportunity to. Do both of those things and and so I selected the us air force academy which as a natural aside you have to get into technology. You have to get into computer science and other things if you want to be a great air force officer and that’s where I really developed my love and and and appreciation for it.

Alejandro Cremades: And it’s pretty amazing because you were there for I mean and you’re still you know in reserve. But you’ve been there for many many years so I guess like how has it been the experience of being part of the. Air force and obviously you know like without talking about classified stuff. You know what has been some of the things that you have been you know doing there.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Um, yeah, you know a super super fortunate I decided not to go down the flying path given the opportunities that cybersecurity actually presented at that time and and this was before Cyber warfare was a really top of mind or headline topic.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: After graduation from the from the us air force academy I was a math major but they they assigned me to a communications officer role and I got to really experience what it takes to do enterprise it and communications and its importance to accomplishing complex technical missions. Um. That combined with my map background got me reassigned to the the national security agency and at that time that was at the forefront of cyber securityity and cyber warfare defense against nation-state attackers and I was lucky enough to be able to. Take my leadership experience as a military leader and a technical leader and apply it to really amazing missions overseas helping prevent and id attacks on our troops in Iraq and and and other places now I really got to appreciate the mindset of being. Innovative lean and focused on the mission but also respect and understanding of your adversary and what it takes to get into their decision loop and drive your innovation faster than theirs so that you can accomplish the mission I think a lot of those trends have. Really served me well both as a leader as an innovator and as a technologist in uniform and out.

Alejandro Cremades: You know it’s It’s amazing. Also you know like the the change of of of how things have developed. You know when it when it comes to to conflict because before people you know I would think about War or or countries going at it against each other with just like.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: I.

Alejandro Cremades: You know, moving tanks you know inside now it’s it’s incredible like cyber um the the how how important it has become and and how much you know Bob. Countries are really investing. You know in in this cyber you know programs that they have going on is that right.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Oh hundred percent I think you you’re spot on the the digital revolution that’s occurred over the past two decades for businesses of all kind has been significant and it’s only been accelerated by the covid pandemic right? I mean every business whether you like it or not. Directly or indirectly is exposed to cyber risk of some kind everybody has a reliance on remote work technologies or supply chains that have dependencies on cyber technologies and so whether you’re a technology company or not. You have some level of cyber risk associated with you and it’s just whether you realize it and are accounting for it that really matters. What I think is very fascinating is that society has shifted from it and cyber as a nice to have tool to an integrated part. Of our daily lives whether it’s with social media and communications or with business operations and supply chains right? and and I think that shift happened without people really realizing it I think one hundred and fifty years ago it was the industrial revolution in the move from steam to factories and we had the industrial evolution. Which led to the industrial age nowadays we have the the cyber revolution that’s led to this digital economy that we we really operate on in today’s today’s world

Alejandro Cremades: Um, so entering the world of entrepreneurship tell us about this. How did it happen.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: So so you know I was finishing up my last tour of duty in Iraq I came back to to the and nsa and and I was um was finalizing my move to the reserves I was going to go do my ph d and math I met my cofounder Raj who at that time said look there’s a really interesting opportunity. And cybersec security was over a decade ago and a lot of companies were still trying to figure out how do they solve their cyber security concern. Um and the venture world was investing heavily in in security startups said look you’re you’re a trained attacker. You know how attackers think you know nation states think. Um, let’s figure out if we can come up with a solution that helps companies get ahead of the bad guys at that time defense in depth was the big thing for most companies it was. It was really how can I keep my perimeter walls higher and higher and higher. Um. Maybe a little bit of interior defense but not much it was more about the perimeter cloud was still coming online and so what we did was create a product that helped companies look inside their own networks for evidence or traces of bad guys or criminal activity. Moving on inside their networks. We got funded by Andreessen orwiz here in Silicon Valley that that led me to move out here and build that company and it was. It was really fun. We got to hire our first engineering team our talent respect and understand the importance of making sure our lunch orders were correct for our engineers. Um.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Which was not something I ever thought I thought it was all just going to be on solving cool problems. Well the lunch order is very important as well. Um, but separately getting in front of clients for the very first time and ensuring that we understand their problem and that our technology actually works. It was great. We got a couple of.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Enterprise 500 sales cso sales and that took a while that was a huge learning experience for me. Um, and ultimately it was a great result. We were the first acquisition by Paul Alto Networks a year and a half later and that led to the rest of my journey understanding what it takes to make a huge security platform. Scale and go at a global level.

Alejandro Cremades: But I’m sure that that also gave you um, a great amount of visibility into what the full cycle of a company looks like because you know the fact that you guys were able to have that first company you know be they also the first time that you guys were able to raise money from. So sophisticated sophisticated investors. You know tier 1 investors actually but then also the fact that you’re able to bring it to the finish line. You know with high flying cols where you were able to achieve it even though it was not disclosed. You know it was a 3 x you know the returns. Um, you know, giving that back to the investors I mean that’s quite an achievement. So. What kind of disability did that give you into the journey of of of going through the full cycle as ah as a founder but then also kind of like make us insiders. How was that process of really going through an acquisition like.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Well, you know and a lot of credit to my cofounder Raj here but it’s all about alignment of incentives across all of the key constituents right? and you know at every level. It’s slightly different but but ultimately Ceos have to manage expectations of their investors expectations of their employees.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, you.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: And expectations of their clients or perspective clients and expectations of the market 4 key areas that you’re always continuously marketing or understanding or learning about and aligning um ensuring that our investors understood where we were going to make our investments. Um, what our expected returns are on that product development that our employees understood what our targets were from a revenue perspective and a timeline to achieve those targets and that our clients understood our need our requirements. And also the value to them the problems that we were actually solving and I think in all 4 of these understanding the aligning. The expectations is what a really good founder and Ceo should be doing at all times and it’s a careful balance I think for getting to a. Solid exit is a careful journey that has to thread the needle against all four of those because if any one of those goes off or overinvested. You’re going to lose the scope on where your product development is or where your sales numbers are or what your investors are expecting. And so managing the expectations were processed for constituencies is as crucial.

Alejandro Cremades: So and talk to us about then once the transaction happens then you ended up going to Palo Alto so that you could help with the integration I mean you were there for about two years and a half but as they say once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur entrepreneur. So. Right? after the 2 year Mark where perhaps you know the vesting and resting was up right? I’m sure there was been a lot of resting but definitely a lot of vesting after that was up. You know it was time to um to take a look at what the next chapter looked like and obviously that led you to now launching your your latest baby. So.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: I might point really.

Alejandro Cremades: Walk us through what were the sequence of events in order to bring resilience to life.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Yeah, great. Great question. You know and a big part of this a good entrepreneur is always learning right? always looking for opportunities but also getting smarter in the process. The cybersecurities is a poor passion of mine. Um, whether it’s from my my military days. Or from my entrepreneurial days and the Paul Alto acquisition we were so fortunate from the timeframe. The returns were great but the lessons learned the ability to have to be a a cog in that machine as it scaled as they went from a few thousand clients worldwide to 70000 clients worldwide.

Alejandro Cremades: Are.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Seeing that March from a few two three billion market cap to twenty billion at market cap um, looking at the strategy that they that executive team did was was really eye-oping and what it takes to engage clients and scale a business so that was just operationally and strategically very eye-opening for me. But. Also afforded us an opportunity to look at the problems that the industry was facing um people were spending more and more on cyber security year over year yet cyber crime was far eclipsing that cost. Um.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: You know by 2025 a lot of reports say that there’ll be over ten point five trillion in cyber crime losses yet cyber security investment will only grow to one point seven five trillion right just 10% of that amount. Um what I found fascinating and and what the ceoopolitan works at time Mark often I think. What he said that really struck a chord in me was if we’re going to do something big in the cyber securityity space. It has to be more than just a security feature. We have to as he would say shift the economics of cybersecurity and that really was the genesis um or the instigator. Behind resilience right? is economics cyber security and shifting really what we’re thinking about is how do we make the world harder for the bad guys making it more expensive for them to do the cyber attacks and it was very simple. How can we. Translate cybersecurity economics to finance. Don’t just spend more on every single device that’s coming out in the cyberurity world. Let’s prioritize what your value at risk is let’s prioritize what your security plan is and then let’s ensure that you’re adequately spending on the. Devices or approaches of security that will lower your risk and wherever there’s a gap ensure it transfer it over to the cyber insurance arena and that requires the translation layer and that’s that’s really what resilience is about.

Alejandro Cremades: So for the people that are listening that you know for them to be able to get it. What ended up being the business model resilience. How do you guys make money.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: So at the core of it. We sell insurance Cyber insurance to corporate enterprises and then we also sell Cyber Software Cyber Resilient software is redefine it which is that translation layer between the. Technology security stack people and processes that they have quantifying it to a cyber action plan and hygiene plan and then pricing it in the form of Cyber insurance and our business model is is very Simple. We sell insurance.

Alejandro Cremades: Anything.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: And and we also sell a resilience platform license that does that translation layer for them.

Alejandro Cremades: And and and also for you guys I mean things have evolved quite a bit. Obviously you guys got started you know with a company you know, right in 2017 I believe it was and they trade 2016 and then in 2019 Basically there was a pivot that happened so. How how did that paper come about and and at what point did it become like so clear that that was the way to follow.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Ah, Andre, it’s it’s a great great question. So um, our first the first iteration of design was actually called arseo ai and the thesis was very clear. It. It was the thesis and mission has always been remained the thing. How do we connect the technical. Security stack people and processes to better cyber hygiene and incentivizing that hygiene. Um, the first thought was let’s create the technology that connects to a company’s security technologies and security stack use that technology. To help in the insurance industry. Underwrite policies profitably and then eventually innovate and create new policies based on their connectivity. Our original business model was to sell insure tech software. To the insurance industry so that they could innovate on insurance products what we realized a year and a half in and I think this is this is very important when it comes back to aligning investor expectations industry expectations and customer expectations is we have revenue targets we have to hit to validate our value valuations. Um, we have timelines to do so if our customer base does not share the same problem solving and timeline views if there is if those aren’t aligned. Um, we have to shift something in this case, what we did is the technology we realized the insurance industry is it’s great. It’s great at doing what it does.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Sell insurance policies not necessarily too great at creating or or innovating on new risks inherently we would have to do that ourselves and so what we did is in 2019 instead of selling bad technology to the great clients we had at that time. We pulled it back. We said thanks. But no thanks and and these were interesting I had to tell the board we were doing this I had to call those coins and say guys I appreciate the the 2 3 year contracts that you you did with us but I’m returning your money for the next two years thanks for the first year and we’ll keep this going for your business interests. But that’s not the future of where we’re headed now we’re taking this technology in-housed and we’re starting our own insurance company and mga on top of it and that’s what we did in 2019 resilience was the rebrand of our sayo using that technology is the core of our business now to underwrite profitable insurance policies. And also power the saas solution that we provide to do the risk translation for our coins.

Alejandro Cremades: Um, and how much capital have you guys raised too late.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Um, we’ve raised just over 225000000 across but we just finished our seriesrs d round we announced that two weeks ago was a $100000000 raised and you know I was really happy to show that it was a upground for my food as well.

Alejandro Cremades: And that’s quite an achievement in a market they that we’re in So I guess what have you guys learned too about the perhaps raising rounds in economic downturns.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Um I think it all starts conve that alignment of investor interests and expectation management when we did our c round and and we were very fortunate our a round was lightspeed our b round was founders fund and our c round was general capitalyt. All amazing tier one investors. That set very high bar bars and do excruciating diligence looking into the internals turning over a relief and ensuring that there really is quality. Um logic coherence and integrity behind the numbers and then most importantly. Their sanity to the projections both in terms of what we think we can do in sales and the valuations that we should receive for them. We raised our sea round in in 2021 at the height of a very frothy valuation market and I can tell you we we had investors that were. Um, maybe not tier ones but we’re very much interested in doing whatever it takes to get get in on the round and offering valuations that were probably a little less realistic than what we would say we could grow into and and I think the beautiful part here was general catalyst lightspeed found fun. All of them have been the same that have said look. Let’s keep it sane here’s what we really think you can do but we’ll add our brand our reputation and we’ll keep that diligence going throughout the process. So raising a round that you know you can grow into I think that’s been.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: With realistic valuations is is crucial.

Alejandro Cremades: No Kidding I mean there’s going to be a big reset because people went with valuations that were not realistic and now we’re seeing the Bloodbath. So really remarkable What you guys have done in that department I Guess you know for the for the folks that are listening to get an Id on the scope and size of resilience to you know. Anything that you can share me like even number of employees. Whatever you feel comfortable sharing How big is resilience today.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Yeah, we’re one hundred and seventy hundred and seventy employees across 14 different time zones and we’re in all the major time zones here in the Us but we also have operations in Canada London and now moving across europe as well.

Alejandro Cremades: Well hey that sounds like a lot of operations and a lot of different places where there’s like mini cultures that they are getting influenced by the actual culture that you guys have but obviously every office every every spot is going to have their own way of being now as ah as a culture but I Guess. What what has been through the experience of leading in a hybrid and remote environment like the one that we have right now.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: And I think that is honestly one of the key challenges for for leaders of all sizes and working across time zones with experts in various industries you lose out on the opportunity to just drop by an office. And or a water cooler and have a conversation or a hey what? if or let’s just get on a whiteboard day and chat about it so you have to be very intentional to make those connections and that’s just on the ideas and business front separately. You have to be very intentional about making the human connection. Um. Having that empathy because we’re on slack all the time and and I can very quickly just type up a quick request to 1 of 1 of our our team members and they could take it the wrong way. They they don’t have the tone of me saying and and not sounding too serious when I’m asking this question and you can take that tone the wrong way. Which could lead to a lot of strike a lot of frustration so having empathy and understanding of the human behind that remote message is also key. 1 of the things that we do here is infering that we have quarterly or or semi-annual get togethers of key business units and functions across functions across geographies so that we can. Reaffirm our commitment to each other and to the mission and cultural values of the business I think that’s absolutely essential for all leaders in this complex and hybrid environment.

Alejandro Cremades: So I like to double click on that you know, especially as we’re thinking about people as we’re thinking of vision imagine you were to go to sleep tonight v 8 in you wake up in a world where the vision of resilience is fully realized. What does that war look like.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: That is that’s a good one. Um so a world fully realized I think we don’t worry about cyber crime anymore. It’s not sensationalized you know bank robberies were headline used a hundred years ago in the wild west. Think that’s the same thing for ransomware attacks today in the future ransomware attacks 1 don’t happen as often and even when they happen. They’re not profitable or worth anybody’s time I think the same thing could be said for business fraud or spam. Business email compromise all these items that we worry about and end up becoming the headline of and the cause of a lot of fear for cyber is gone. It’s handled. It’s incorporated into our daily lives into our business lives into our personal lives. Don’t think about it much like we don’t think about crime or fire or other type of property risks and the reason for that is because we have clarity and certainty around the right steps to protect ourselves to get better on our hygiene from cyber our exposures to cyber and um, our recovery. From cyber incidents.

Alejandro Cremades: So We’re talking about the future here. So I Want to talk about the past but being able to do it with a length of reflection. So imagine I’m able to bring you back in time and I bring you back in time to the moment where. You met rush or you know you were thinking about like doing something you know if you own more on the entrepreneurial side of things and you have the opportunity of whispering to your younger self one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Be crystal clear on the problem that you’re trying to solve and who you’re trying to solve at every step of the journey and it’s okay that that shifts over time.. It’s not 1 problem 1 Client 1 Market segment. Um, if you want to build a long laughing Enterprise. You need to continuously innovate on that problem with those clients and with that industry and and I guess the real takeaway from that is that there’s no, don’t have that um, don’t have any guilt.

Alejandro Cremades: Um I love it So we had for the big good.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Or fear of making those changes or those pivots. It’s not you didn’t get it wrong. You’re learning and that learning in that iteration is essential for hitting the next higher steps of growth.

Alejandro Cremades: I Love that nothing like listening everything happens in the listening. Thank you so much for that V eight. So for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Easy v eight at cyberresilience.com that’s my email and cyberreslience.com has our information.

Alejandro Cremades: Amazing! Well v eight thank you so much for being on the deal maker show. It has been an absolute honor to have you with us today. Thank you.

Vishaal ‘V8’ Hariprasad: Awesome! Thank you so much. Ah, Andrew.

*****

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