Today's Entrepreneur: Rob Simopoulos

Kristin Karaoglu · July 2, 2019 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4e40

Build a team of people around you who are “smarter” and more experienced than you

Today's entrepreneur is Rob Simopoulos, co-founder of DefendifyDefendify is an all-in-one, SaaS-delivered cybersecurity platform designed specifically for small businesses. Defendify partners with channel resellers to offer a holistic solution in the most simplified product to help secure small businesses from existing and evolving threats. 

Rob is a 20+ year veteran of the Security industry, successfully building and growing multiple businesses, and taking on various industry advisory and board roles. He is a frequent national speaker and thought leader on security and recurring revenue model strategies.

Before founding Defendify, he co-founded Sonitrol of South Central Ontario. Rob has a degree in Security System Design and Implementation from Sheridan College.

Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?

Is that something you choose or is it in your DNA? From a very young age, I was the kid in the neighborhood cutting the neighbor's grass and washing their cars for a few bucks. I started my first “real” business when I was in my early 20’s years with my son having just been born. This is now the second business I have started.

What are your favorite startups?

We have a thriving startup community here in Portland, Maine. Many of us get together for coffee regularly and chat about raising capital, hiring, business growth, etc. One of my favorites is MedRhythms. Check it out, they are doing great things!

Why did you start your current company?

We saw a major problem for the average small business operator where cybersecurity was challenging to understand and navigate. Many of them were hearing about their friend’s company getting hit with ransomware, or reading in their industry trade magazines about how having cyber protection in place was so important, but most of them just didn’t even know how to get started. We felt we needed to help these businesses by building a cybersecurity platform that they can use to help solve this problem.

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

It is very rewarding when you make a positive difference with a customer. I recently spoke to one and they were so excited to tell me how our company has really improved the cybersecurity at their business and even helped identify an attack. That’s an awesome feeling when our product and people have truly helped a customer!

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

Missing the pivot. Some entrepreneurs stay steadfast in one direction without ever looking up. In my experience, there are times in a business’s lifecycle where you have to make a pivot and change the direction of your business for the better. Sometimes they are large shifts and other times smaller, but you need to identify them and make that turn.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1. Build a team of people around you who are “smarter” and more experienced than you. Surrounding yourself with mentors and advisors can really help you with your business and guide you through challenging times.

2. Hire a team with skill sets beyond what you think you are currently looking for. With startups, there are many hats worn and the business grows quickly, people will need to step up into roles/activities. If you hire team members who can move into those new roles, it will make it much easier.

3. Don’t give up. As much as you have that voice in your head telling you to quit, always know that there is a way to get it accomplished.

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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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Defendify

Startup/Business

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Defendify is an all-in-one, SaaS-delivered cybersecurity platform designed specifically for small businesses. Defendify partners with channel resellers to offer a holistic solution in the most simplified product with a single goal: to help secure small businesses from existing and evolving threats. The team works tirelessly to make cybersecurity simple and easy for channel providers and small businesses alike.

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Rob Simopoulos

Joined Vator on

Co-founder of Defendify