Jay Kaplan – Synack

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Jay Kaplan is CEO and Co-founder of Synack, the creator of a system that safely crowdsources security vulnerability testing in a military-grade, trusted environment.


If you have an idea that you believe to be truly transformative, don’t wait to dive in and make it happen. By tip-toeing around, you are simply delaying your inevitable success or failure and allowing potential competitors to enter the market. Go big or go home.


Not only is Synack bringing a new disruptive vulnerability discovery model to mass market, but we are adding layers onto existing implementations that make adoption easier for companies of any size from small business to enterprise.


I spent the past four years working for a major government intelligence organization. Starting a company was certainly a culture shock, but in a great way. After prototyping for several months, my co-founder and I received enough positive feedback and validation to make the leap and work on our venture full time.


Synack just closed a seed round of funding comprised of several Tier 1 investors including Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. The key thing when fundraising is listening to your instincts; if you have a lot of interest, you are going to get pulled a million different directions from varying viewpoints.


Being resourceful and utilizing connections is your best friend. We’ve focused initial pilot engagements with companies who have big needs in information security, but at the same time who we were closely connected to. Customers get much easier to acquire after your first few.


We have a very high-end product offering that is needed by multiple customer verticals. By clearly portraying our value-proposition to prospective customers, we’ve seen immediate interest.


Our team brings forth extremely diverse and interesting backgrounds from varying companies and government entities. Given the high profile classified environment that the founders previously worked in, we put high value on integrity, teamwork, and performance.


I find getting my e-mail inbox down to a manageable state takes up a big chunk of my day, but I’m also heavily involved in pretty much all facets of the business. Some tools that I probably couldn’t work without include Google Apps (especially GMail, Docs, and Drive), HipChat, UberConference, GitHub, Pivotal Tracker, and perhaps Pandora.


We left our government jobs to participate in TechStars Boston which played an integral part in initial pilot customers and accelerating our business forward. TechStars is an amazing community of startups who all want to see and help each other grow. It’s really exciting to see peer companies succeed who you’ve worked alongside for the better part of three months.


I’ve had the opportunity to interface and meet with such well known VCs and CEOs that you’ve looked up to and read about for many years has been an amazing journey.

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