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What does it mean to be an outlier?

Outlier

I started writing this post last week, from my hotel room in London. Myself, Anthi and Stuart were in town for a very exciting reason, which is that… drum-roll please… Akeero has been invited to join the first ever cohort of Arc Europe, Sequoia’s seed-stage catalyst! 

Sequoia is a very well-known venture capital firm. I know this for a fact, because most of my friends and family know next to nothing about the VC world – no more than I did before Akeero – and yet lots of them have been contacting me since the news was announced to tell me that “even I’ve heard of Sequoia!”. So to have been chosen as one of only 17 companies overall to be asked to participate in Arc is genuinely thrilling, and I know the rest of the Akeero team feel the same. 

It’s also further validation that what we are doing at Akeero makes sense. We’re very lucky to have some amazing investors who have supported us since the beginning of our journey,  but whilst I’ve never doubted our vision, it’s not always easy to convince others that your vision is one that they should share. I believe that what we are doing will revolutionise secure design for companies, but I will also admit that in order to do so, some companies will need to come around to a new way of thinking about how they build security into their software development processes.

With Arc, Sequoia made it clear from the outset that they were looking for outliers. This got me thinking, what does this mean exactly? And what makes Akeero an outlier?

Outliers see things differently. They do things differently. They look at the way things have always been done and they say: we can do that better. We can do it faster. We can do it smarter. Not only that, outliers are truly transformative.

I believe that in order for security teams in every organisation to be able to scale – in order for them to be able to adapt to all of the challenges presented by modern engineering and the cloud – secure design needs to be embraced and embedded at the very start of the SDLC. I also believe that in order for this approach to truly add value, it needs to be automated as much as possible. Transforming organisational approaches to secure design is our mission at Akeero, and it’s what makes us an outlier.

Having said that, I don’t think that our viewpoint on security-by-design will be an outlier viewpoint forever. Soon the Akeero approach will be the approach that every smart company takes – there is simply no other way for security teams to scale and meet the demands of modern engineering teams.

I’d hoped to get this blog out last week (as I said at the start, I began writing it in London) but that plan soon fell by the wayside. Week one was fascinating and rewarding, but also quite busy, meaning all thoughts of blog posts had to be shelved for a few days. At time of writing I’m back in Ireland, and week two of the eight-week programme starts later today. If the first week is anything to go by, our leadership team will learn so much as part of Arc. If anyone has any questions about Akeero, or about my experience with Arc to-date, just reach out to me. We’re (wonderfully) busy right now, but I can always find some time to chat!

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