Today's Entrepreneur: Andrew Rinaldi

Kristin Karaoglu · July 8, 2019 · Short URL:

Happiness drives success, not the other way around

Today's entrepreneur is Andrew Rinaldi, 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. 
Andrew brings 20+ years' experience in Digital Marketing, successfully developing multiple brands, products, and businesses. He delivers operational and strategic expertise, streamlining growth through the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and agile methodologies. 
Before founding Defendify Andrew founded Steady Vision. Steady Vision is a full service digital design, development, and marketing company providing solutions for businesses of all sizes in a wide variety of fields.
Andrew has a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Management from Bentley University.
Why did you choose to be an entrepreneur?

Growing up in an entrepreneurial family my whole life, it was in my blood from day one. I don’t think I chose to be an entrepreneur, rather, I chose not to be anything else. I went on one formal job interview after graduating from college and knew walking out the door that I had to start my own business. I didn’t want to go to work for someone else, I wanted to build something special from the ground up. And the rest is history!

What are your favorite startups?

I like startups that are focused on smaller businesses, not just going after the enterprise. There is a love affair in the VC world with the enterprise and high profile B2C plays. But SMBs are the undercurrent of our economy and I enjoy any startup dedicated to that part of the market as they are often overlooked and underestimated.

Why did you start your current company?

Rob and I were talking about cybersecurity and exploring how we might protect the multiple small businesses we were running. When we looked around to see what help was out there, we found very little. It was either hire a high-end consultant for top dollar, or, somehow try and work an enterprise level solution into your budget. We knew those weren’t real options for smaller organizations. We took it personally that absolutely nobody selling in the market cared. Then we asked ourselves, why doesn’t cybersecurity-in-a-box exist? Small businesses run on a stack of SaaS products for their financial, HR, operational needs, etc. What about cybersecurity? We again looked around and found nothing. That’s when we knew what we had to do, we knew we had to build it.

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

Change. It’s a powerful concept and routine to the entrepreneurial life. It can be extremely frustrating having to pivot left, pivot right, step on the gas, pump the breaks, and then do it again (and again and again!). But at the very same time, change also represents opportunity. If you see something that needs to change, you’ve figured it out, and you’re one step closer to your goals. There isn’t much more rewarding than strategizing about what might need to be done, making those changes, and then seeing the results drive growth and success.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

They don’t understand that change is part of the game, not just an unexpected side effect you have to deal with. I think the entrepreneurs that are most successful are those who can get their minds around that early on—that change is constant and will need to be harnessed, managed, and welcomed. It’s a roller coaster ride, it can be the scariest thing in the world or the most exhilarating—entrepreneurs must choose wisely! Thankfully, we have the choice.

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

1. Happiness drives success, not the other way around. By default, many think just the opposite which, in my opinion, couldn’t be farther from the truth. Once you’ve got this mindset straight, you’ve figured out one of the simplest but most powerful keys to success. It’s amazing what a little dose of perspective will do for you and for your business.

2. Things take longer than you expect. We’ve all heard this one and it’s true in so many different contexts, business included. The reality is, humans are notoriously bad at knowing how long things will take. And guess what, we’re all human! So, whether we’re talking about raising capital, launching a new product, building a new feature, or hiring that next rock star—we have to be prepared that it might just take longer than we want it to.

3. Raising money is harder than we think. When we started raising capital we knew it was going to require a tremendous effort. But no matter how hard we told ourselves it would be, it was always harder. Not because we didn’t have the right product or opportunity—in fact, we had both—it’s just that you have to find the right people, at their right time, and with the right mindset to understand your business, goals, and a grand vision. Then you have to convince them to put their hard-earned dollars to work for you.

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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 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.


Andrew Rinaldi

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Co-founder of Defendify