CapitalGeek

Mike Roth, CEO and Founder of Evo Security and Identity Management Geek

Episode Summary

On this episode of Capital GEEK, we geek out with my friend and Identity & Access Management GEEK Mike Roth. We talk with Mike about what motivated him to found his new company Evo Security and why the MSP market is in such dire need of custom solutions. Mike's a lot of fun to talk to and really knows the MSP space.

Episode Notes

Mike is an engineer, former private equity fund founder and manager turned serial tech entrepreneur. His life-long passion of using creativity, innovation, and perspective shifts to solve hard problems with elegant solutions is what has defined his career across multiple industries. He believes nothing is out of reach if you're willing to convert thoughts into action and stay laser-focused on the belief that a new reality is constrained only by a bit of time.

 

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Links Mentioned In Today's Episode: 

https://www.evosecurity.com/

https://elsewhere.partners/

 

 

 

Episode Transcription

Josh Stephens  0:03  

Hello everyone and welcome from here in the capital city of Austin, Texas. This is Capital Geek, a podcast dedicated to the founders and operators that create the products we love and turn them into fabulous companies with meaningful exits, whether you're raising your first round of capital or racing toward an IPO. This is where we deep dive on the lessons learned from seasoned industry veterans, geeks of all types, the experts leading product and engineering teams operations and finance or sales and marketing, and will both learn from their mistakes and celebrate their successes while providing a roadmap for you to accelerate your own journey towards success. My name is Josh Stephens, CTO at Elsewhere Partners, and I am the Capital Geek. On this episode of capital geek, we geek out with my friend and identity and access management geek Mike Roth. We talked with Mike about what motivated him to start his new company Evo Security and why the MSP market is in such dire need of custom solutions. Might a lot of fun to talk to and really knows the MSP space. So let's get to it.

 

Mike Roth buddy, welcome to the show.

 

Mike Roth  1:15  

Thanks. Glad to be here.

 

Josh Stephens  1:17  

How the heck are you today?

 

Mike Roth  1:19  

Fantastic. It's a great day to be an entrepreneur in Austin, Texas.

 

Josh Stephens  1:23  

It really is I was chatting with a good buddy of mine, John Brosnan, we worked together on his company for several years. We exited to rapid seven a couple of years ago. And he lives in Galway, Ireland. And he said that they're you're not allowed to be outside at all, no walking, no bicycling, and the only time they want you out is like going to the doctor's office or potentially the grocery store. And even that's limited to within three miles of your home. So they're really locked down right now and, and, John, love catching up with you earlier this week. But, you know, it's pretty wild to think about that here. You know, we're able to take walks and ride our bikes and still stay socially distanced. But wow I, you know, I send a lot of good energy and hope for those folks on what they're dealing with that sort of an outbreak right now.

 

Mike Roth  2:14  

Yeah, you know, it's amazing how our environment here it's, it's promoted a lot more health, I think during the pandemic in general. I know for me, specifically, being able to go on walks, being able to get outside the house, you know, run to the store, if you need anything has really been helpful, especially when you're under a lot of stress Anyway, when you're trying to build a business. So a little bit goes a long way in today's day and age for sure.

 

Josh Stephens  2:42  

It sure does. Before we jump into what Evo security does, I'd love to sort of delve into your background a little bit. Maybe tell us sort of where you grew up? And what led you down the path of tech entrepreneurship?

 

Mike Roth  2:56  

Yeah, yeah. I'd be happy to my my story isn't the one you would expect. I didn't grow up really around tech. But yeah, I was originally from Louisiana. But when I was really, really young, moved to Texas. So I consider myself a full, full fledged Texan, and have been for many decades now. But I grew up in Houston, and was around the oil and gas business. That's what my family's involved in. And, and naturally, that's kind of where my path went, I went to the University of Texas here at Austin, got a petroleum engineering degree, didn't quite understand how valuable that was really going to be with the latter parts of my career. But yes, started with an energy company up in Dallas. And it was an unbelievable experience. I mean, everything you could possibly ask for, as a young professional, really highly capital intensive projects right out of the gates, extreme engineering, we were we were growing really fast and had some very valuable assets where they were, you know, some quite dangerous situations. And so you had to learn very quickly, what you need to focus on as a professional, what you need to focus on what really matters. And in that case, it was both capital and life and death type scenarios. So I didn't realize how that was going to prepare me for a discipline like cybersecurity later, but it was absolutely fascinating. I witnessed an office that grew from 60 people to 600 people and only a few years, the industry was on fire. During the same course of time. I experienced two market crashes, two bounce backs. It was just unbelievable. And you know, I always knew that I wasn't going to stay in that business for as long as I can remember, I've been just obsessed with technology innovation. You know, radically thinking about those types of things. And you know, what I could do in the world, you know, I would say, most of my success as an engineer was rooted upon my ability to be creative and innovative and think about a problem differently, and actually go and solve it. And so I knew that that's what I really wanted to focus on long term. And technology seems to be the area where you can really unleash that, you know, because the sort of world is your oyster when it comes to software and creating things from scratch. So as a means to get from from one place to the other, I launched a private equity firm, well, what it emerged into a formalized private equity firm, but Originally, it was just finding assets and deals in the oil and gas business. And so we formed a little team, I raised six different limited partnerships, we had 54, investors, ranging from high net worth individuals all the way to family offices, pretty large family offices, we there were from over 15 different countries. I mean, it was, it was just an unbelievable NBA on steroids type experience, and had some great exits there, learned a heck of a lot, and, and after we exited those assets, I spent about a year or almost actually almost a year and a half, trying to formulate My Next Move, doing some angel investments, and just really had this fascination for how security, cloud and machine learning were all converging. And one of the biggest reasons why I landed on those things is, throughout my time, as an as an engineer, and as a fund manager, I was always noticing that the information that is so valuable for these companies was sort of loosely protected. And everywhere I went, whether it was on the capital management side, on the actual corporate side, I realized that this could be better, even from password management to verifying that people are who they say they are when they log into a system. And, and that's sort of what led me to, to the whole security focus when I had the opportunity to kind of step outside and say, you know, what do I want to do next?

 

Josh Stephens  7:31  

What, let's back up a minute. Tell me about life and death scenarios in oil and gas business. You know, I think that for a lot of people, they think about that as, as a lot of computer controlled equipment. And we think a lot about the environmental impacts of oil and gas, but talk a little bit about the risks and some of those situations that you guys were managing against.

 

Mike Roth  7:55  

Yeah, I would say it's probably one of the most undervalued parts of, of that industry. Because we obviously still need it, we'll need it for a long time to come just just by nature of, how, how much energy is contained in one, you know, volume, whether it's a barrel or an MCF of gas, but the reason it's dangerous is, you know, you're out there around very heavy machinery and really big equipment that, you know, one slip of the finger, one misstep, and it could mean an arm, a leg or your life. And we actually had a an incident in the company that I worked for that where, you know, we were, we were drilling down into a formation that was over two miles straight down into the ground, and actually closer to two and a half. And the pressures get so high, so incredibly high, that if you're, if you're not taking all the right moves, then and really monitoring it every second of the way, then all that pressure could come back up to the surface and can be it can blow out. And so everything has to be engineered, from valves to pipes, to fittings to everything all the way down to the molecule to make sure that whatever's behind that, that that closed gate isn't going to erode. It isn't going to chemically you know, alternate so that it fails. And so when I say extreme engineering, it was truly extreme engineering.

 

Josh Stephens  9:39  

That's super fascinating. You know, my dad worked on some oil rigs for a while when I was a kid, simply because there was wasn't much work to be found at the time during the recession for him as a bricklayer and stonemason. So I have a little bit of exposure to that. But it's it's really a fascinating industry. And, you know, I think that most Most experts would agree that even though we might enhance other methods of generating energy from wind and solar and other things, there will be, you know, use of oil products for for many decades, you know, in the future. super fascinating stuff. After that you sort of, I love your story of how inspired you were, by the, you know, easy handling or lack of protection around a lot of corporate IP, I think that's something that, that that resonates with a lot of people. And, you know, one thing that I think a lot of people don't realize, unless you're in the cybersecurity industry, is that, you know, ransomware attacks and things like that are primarily, you know, criminals mechanism for getting your, your private data and ransom and get back to you. And if there wasn't tremendous value in that data, both to you and potentially, in terms of harm, if that were to get out to your competitors, no one would pay. But a lot of people do pay. And it's, it's a lucrative business for those criminal organizations. Because it's, it's so critical for companies in today's day and age to have secure reliable access to that information that that allows the business to function. When you were thinking about solving that problem, you know, going out and building a product company to help provide better cybersecurity measures to organizations, what led you down the path of creating an MSP specific solution?

 

Mike Roth  11:33  

Yeah, that's a great question. So, you know, a lot of the the organization that I mentioned that I was a part of, you know, out of college, and then there was a couple other companies that I worked for, as well, in between there and starting the fun, smaller companies. And I realized that those companies can't really function well. And as smooth as you would expect, unless there is an IT team who's in the background, really making sure that everything is up, it's running, it's scalable. There, you know, it's available, wherever you are, whether you're in the office or remote. And it was, I remember thinking, the the first time it was sort of a glancing thought, you know, just kind of walking down the hall in the office and thinking, Man, if it wasn't for these folks, this business wouldn't really be going on today, because we'd all be just kind of stuck. And so I developed a really strong appreciation for that, especially also watching us grow from 60 to 600. People and all the hardware and everything associated with it. And so I would say that's what sparked my, my awareness of the MSP space, and, and how valuable they are to the modern business. I've often said that they're really the unsung heroes of modern business.

 

Josh Stephens  12:54  

You know, it's interesting, I think that, as a market, we, we downplay the importance of msps. And I have a lot of friends, obviously, who are in IT, and, you know, network engineers, and IT administrators. And if you're not an IT professional, let me just sort of set the table for you a little bit. You know, imagine you and a small team supporting 1000 active it users. And so you have to deal with managing their Active Directory domain and credentials and access to certain data, access to the network, security, everything from printer printers and file sharing, you know, all the way up to Routing and Switching. And that's, it's a diligent job, it's a job that a lot of us enjoy. But it can be challenging with a large number of users. Now imagine working for an MSP where those that 1000 users is spread across 15 or 20 companies. And so now in addition to having the complexity of having a high user count to support your supporting those users across many different domains, each one specific may have their own preference in terms of which it tools they like to use, and may have different operating systems on their endpoint devices. They may prefer different solutions for Endpoint Protection, and authentication. And so the job of an MSP engineer is is a really tough one. I think it's one of the harder jobs out there within it. And so for me, I was very enthralled by the idea of what you're doing at Evo in that you're building a product specifically for the msps when you first told me that you were planning to build this product, and make it only available to MSPs and through them to their customers. I thought you were pretty crazy to be honest. But the more I've gotten to know you The more I realized that it's it's sort of crazy like a fox in this case, it's a great idea.

 

Mike Roth  14:51  

Thanks. Yeah, you know, it. If I was the backup of stuff, even going switching industries, just to me was a little Crazy, because I, you know, I didn't really have a whole lot of experience in security and, and as a tech founder or leader, but, you know, I'd spent so much time around incubators and accelerators and advising companies. And I felt prepared to do that. And I knew that I needed to have some type of launching pad to accelerate that process into into this career shift, which is why I approached the Texas Advanced Computing Center. on that, and what I realized, you know, kind of to your point, your question is that they had this really scalable identity products, and they were almost functioning like an MSP themselves. And they have, you know, 1000s of organizations that are all trying to log into their machines and all these users. And they just did such a great job. And it clicked for me at that point that, hey, this could go out and be a product specifically, for msps. And given my, you know, Capital Management background, I started doing some market analysis and validation, and realized, and also started talking to MSP's. and realized, wow, these guys are incredibly underserved. And they're less worried about these incredibly innovative, advanced features that the enterprise wants in order to be competitive, and more just worried about, hey, do you have a product that works for me in my all of my unique needs, because these enterprise products really aren't solving them, we're kind of just hacking things together. And yeah, it works fine. But it doesn't really allow us to, to, you know, grow our business and truly secure our customers in the way they should be.

 

Josh Stephens  16:41  

I think it's interesting, I, I love it when products, find a way to, to add value to customers, day, one minute, one within five minutes of installing it and starting to use it. And then, you know, I love it when when companies will orient the product in such a way that as your maturity, as a user changes and your needs grow, then your adoption of their technology can grow with it. And I think one of the challenges that many that many MSPs and and many mid market businesses have with enterprise grade products is that  the depth of capabilities in terms of what is possible with the product, cloud, what is achievable in the short term with the product. And so when I see products like EVO security, your MFA tool for msps, it reminds me that, you know, what's what's really important, oftentimes, is to get back to sort of the core function, or the first principle of of IT security, which is, you know, to make things easier to make them faster, to make them more secure, and then sort of build out from there.

 

Mike Roth  17:55  

Yeah, I think it's, it's a fantastic, you know, first step for me as a previous founder into a new role in a new industry, because, you know, you have to be really well capitalized to go towards the enterprise and do all this. And really well experience, you have to have a mature team, you have to have highly experienced team. So this is just a really fantastic opportunity. You're right, just to kind of get back to the the core principles of what does it mean, to build a highly effective, yet highly secure tool as easy to administer, and that has the level of flexibility. And for the MSP, it's it's multi tenancy in making sure that we do that really, really, really well. And so far, we've just had phenomenal resonance with our market. And they're really loving where we're headed and what we have so far.

 

Josh Stephens  18:49  

I think one of the keys of being successful with msps is that you have to tailor a solution to their very specific and unique use cases. You know, in a traditional enterprise, while you may have different departments or organizations that are under your purview, it's it's very different than having many companies under your purview like you do in an MSP. Yeah, it's it's it's challenging role. And I've done some of that work myself. And just the context switching. You know, let's just say that I'm managing 20 different customers. I'm an MSP engineer, and I need to make some configuration changes to the firewall of each one. You know, I'm authenticating in and out of each domain separately, I'm logging that separately, with hopefully some sort of a privileged access manager that logs the detail of what I'm doing. It's, it's a complex task, and it's made more complex because of the nature of the business. And so products that that are tailored for that use case specifically, I think there's something that's sort of new and something that I hope to see more of down the road. You know, a lot of organizations will start with a focus on the MSP, but as They grow, they will sort of move away from that as they move up market. So for me seeing a product that's, that's I'm not only focused on the MSP, but sees that as a long term part of of their, their identity and where they don't affect us as a company is something I'm very excited to be a part of and sort of see how you're growing. Maybe you can walk us through what it is that Evo does, you know, what you offer to these msps? And and why it's so important to them.

 

Mike Roth  20:30  

Yeah, first, I'll say, Josh, I mean, this, this journey has been incredible, because you are involved. And so I feel really fortunate and thankful for that. Yeah, so why is what are we doing? And why is it important to the MSP? So the attack surface has been moving away from the large enterprise and permeating the mid market, and even down to the MS, or SMB. More and more. Even as we sit here, it's happening more and more. And a lot of those size companies this think, Oh, well, you know, I'm too small for for cybercriminal, to care about what it is that I'm doing. But, but really, the way to think about it, it's not it's not about the data you really have. I mean, it could be if you're doing something really important, really special. But truly more about how much would you pay to get access back to the things you've lost if they can take it and hold you for ransom. And that's usually the the critical blow for an SMB or mid market company, because oftentimes, it's such a high number that they have to go out of business or, you know, maybe their insurance only covers so much of it. And, and it just totally messes up their, their balance sheet for for months or years. And so that's really, what we're trying to do is prevent that from happening. And often say, we're protecting the livelihood of these smaller to medium sized companies and the people that are there, because it's their livelihood, as well. And so that's how important I think this is for, for Evo, it's how seriously, we take it. And so what the best way to defend against all of that is to defend and protect the login, because that's the number one place, it's the most common. And it's also where cyber criminals have the most success in these breaches. And so what we offer is multi factor authentication, which is everyone has experienced this you get, you have to enter a six digit code or it's a text message, where you have to go and verify your identity. We also offer Single Sign On, which is basically the same thing, but you're given the opportunity. As long as you're within a secure session, you could actually not have to MFA over and over every single time. But maybe you can you have a day or two or a week to continue to log in successfully, all the while still forwarding cybercriminals from entering and stealing your credentials. And then lastly, we have  privilege access management capabilities. So that the users who do access the system and do validate their identity, once they're in, they have least privilege to what they can do. And all of those things wrapped together are what's called zero trust. And so we're offering a fully baked zero trust identity and access management solution, specifically engineered for msps, top to bottom, from the database architecture, where it's partitioned out by tenant and the even below that by directory for each tenant, encrypted in transit at rest, all the way up to the UI, and how you engage and interact with the product where you're going in and out of tenants. So it is a 100% custom tailored solution for this industry and for this customer.

 

Josh Stephens  24:09  

Mike, I love products that are specifically engineered for the users that they're going to be servicing. And I think what I love about you're doing is that you're drawing a line and saying, look, the use case for MSPs is unique and distinct from what enterprises need. It's, it's oftentimes a superset of what an enterprise needs. But providing that visibility and detailed analytics about usage, privileged access management, logs and audit trails, and even just the detailed billing, and how you handle reporting. It really has to be tailored specifically for the types of business you're selling to. And I've seen from my portfolio companies, companies like ActivTrack that, you know, have always had a great level of success with the MSP market. But when they release something specifically for them, like their command center in their case, then you begin to see a lot more traction take off, because it can be very difficult as an MSP to get your job done when you're trying to cobble together products that really weren't built with you in mind, you know, Solarwinds, we had msps, using Orion for years and years and years before we ever really supported the MSP use case. And about that time we acquired enable out of Canada, which I think now is in the process of being spun back out as its own public company, from the Solarwinds, sort of proper family. And so it's, it is really special, I think, to do that, what kind of feedback have you had so far from msps, that have had a chance to use the product and and see what it might do for their environment?

 

Mike Roth  25:56  

Yeah, so far, the feedback has been fantastic. They, you know, for being as young as we are, they're saying, hey, look, we're evaluating you versus, you know, your largest competitor, and then one other smaller competitor who's been in the market for for quite a while. And just to be in that conversation, first of all, is, is a big win, you know, that means we're on the right track. But once once we actually crack open, you know, our solution, they get to see how extremely easy it is. Yet, all the things they can accomplish with the tool, and then how we've engineered it from top to bottom, as I was mentioning, you know, for multi tenancy, to how we built our, our building our partner portal, and how we're making that multi layered, just the way that you can handle seats and licenses. And then all the way to the the problems that are the most common, you know, tier one ticket items, or tier two ticket items that, that they're always dealing with, when it comes to, you know, managing identity and login and how we just automate that and just clean up that whole process, we really, truly are hitting all of the high points that they want. And, and we're building our product specifically based on on their feedback to begin with. So, so far, it's just been fantastic. And we're getting some pretty good traction. Now with our early early interest.

 

Josh Stephens  27:22  

Yeah, it's been interesting to watch the company grow, we've known each other for 14 months now or something like that. And, you know, when we met was you and your CTO, and you were, you know, you've got a prototype out there, you were starting to use it, the progress that your companies made in the last 14 months, it's just been outstanding, it's been fun to watch the company grow. And, and I think also to be on some of these calls with some of the large msps. And even some of the large sort of MSP distributors, and, and see how they're, how they sort of come alive when they see the product, and they realize, for the first time to Oh, you built this for us, you know, you're not building something for everyone. And in providing a way for us to use it. You built something specifically for us. And and so you're asking us, you know, how we'd like to see it change and how we make it better. And I love the innovation, because what we've seen is that as we've worked with these msps, or what I've seen through your team, is that, you know, sometimes you miss you misunderstand, sometimes you missed a mark, and it's easy to go back in. And and look at those times and think about how you reacted to it. But I think what's nice about what you guys are doing as you're taking the feedback from these msps to heart and engineering the product in ways that make it even more useful for them every single month. Well, let's just say that, you know, I'm a IT admin for a company with a few 100 employees. And I don't have an MFA solution. How would I go about getting it from Evo?

 

Mike Roth  29:02  

Yeah, that's a great question. So, again, sticking true to our MSP focus routes. If a company were to reach out to us direct our promise to our customer base is that we will not usurp that relationship. And what we'll do is say hey, you know, your, your company, it looks like it's based in Dallas, here are five or six different msps that we would recommend for you to reach out to. They're all you know, you can decide which one you like the best based on, you know, the phone call or the relationship or maybe there's a, you know, top two or three that that will you know, recommend them, you know, over two but we will not they'll get a better deal there anyway, you know, because the MSP is going to have our pricing that that will be better than what we could offer that type of company direct. So yeah, we're We're in this 100%.

 

Josh Stephens  30:02  

Yeah, yeah, that's awesome. I think it's a great product. And in my experience products like this that, that really tailored to that specific use case can be a big help. You know, part of why we built solar winds is that we were doing the jobs ourselves, some of us in MSP some of us inside large service providers and other enterprise networks. And we just found that it was really difficult to do our daily job. And we started building tools to make our jobs easier. And so anytime I find a founder who is building a product, that not only adds enterprise value, but provides functions that make an IT practitioners job easier, you know, it may be exaggerates their skill set, and empowers them to create faster or more secure environments. I love products like that's why I like Evo so much. multi factor authentication is something that's been around for quite a while. But I think, especially with COVID, you know, how you do identity management has become sort of front and center again, maybe you can talk to me a little bit about or talk to the, to our audience a little bit about why you think that is?

 

Unknown Speaker  31:16  

Yeah, I think,

 

Mike Roth  31:18  

you know, the days of, of firewalls and antivirus are pretty well, long gone, the world has shifted to running their entire business off of web applications, and, you know, logging into systems remotely. Now that we all are distributed across the world away from, you know, these central office locations. And so when you're logging into, whether it's an application or an actual private network, it's very easy today for a cyber criminal. I mean, they can, with just a handful of GPUs in their in a single room, they could hack billions of passwords per second. I mean, think about that, that's, that's just absolutely insane. And that could be anybody that could be you or me, we could figure out how to do that. And you could go on the deep and dark webs, you can find instructions on how to build those systems, you can find pre built, you know, programs and applications that could actually just automate it for you with bots. And so it may seem like a small insignificant thing, but every time you log in, is every time and then you actually confirm your identity using multi factor authentication, is every time that you've, you've done the right thing for your company and for your own personal livelihood, it's just it's just really, you know, identity is the new virtual perimeter in today's world is how I think about it.

 

Josh Stephens  32:45  

Yeah, I love that, that analogy, that identity being sort of the new perimeter, I always think about security in terms of layers of perimeters or layers of protection, you know, you might have antivirus, or some sort of Endpoint Protection software, as a first layer. You know, and identity and access management solution like MFA, or Evo, maybe a second layer, you know, you have your firewalls VPNs. And when I draw this for, for young or novice, you know, it or security professionals, I typically draw it as a set of concentric force fields, you know, and and try to make people understand that, that, yes, none of these solutions are perfect. But as you add more and more layers, more concentric circles of protection, you you do enhance your security posture significantly, and thereby reduce risk. And I think right now, what we're all looking for are ways to reduce risk, without breaking the bank and or breaking our business model, and without impeding our ability to do business. And for years, the argument was always sort of, you know, how much security Am I willing to, to pay for? And in many cases, how much usability or speed or inconvenience Am I willing to give up in order to get that security. And what I love about new solutions solutions, like yours at Evo is that you don't really trade much in terms of inconvenience, or slowing you down. It's it's seamless. It's instantaneous, it takes a couple of seconds max, and you're through the systems. And it's it's been an interesting evolution of security technology over the last 10 years. Because we've we've both found a reason to fight to decide that it was mandatory, whereas before a lot of organizations just looked past it and said, Oh, we don't really need a firewall. We don't really need Endpoint Protection. We don't really need MFA. I think organizations now realize they do need those things. But you still have to deal with the trade off, you know, how much is it going to cost? And how much is it going to slow us down? And so solutions like yours They don't slow you down and that are priced, you know, very cost effectively. And for the msps may actually be a profit center for them. It makes a lot of sense to me. Maybe we can go ahead, Mike. Oh, yeah,

 

Mike Roth  35:15  

yeah, I agree, I think you know that the 8020 rule is always, you know, a good one to think about when you know, MFA, and SSO and identity comes into the picture, it's, like, the most common form of attack is going to be at the login. What's the thing that shuts that down, you know, 99% of the time, and it's going to be NFA. So as far as bang for your buck, and if that process is as seamless, then it's just a real winner? It's a real winning combination.

 

Josh Stephens  35:46  

let's shift gears a little bit. So you know, you are an entrepreneur, early on in life, you interested in technology and engineering? Did entrepreneurship, engineering and even fundraising on the oil and gas side, now you're in tech? So as a startup entrepreneur, what are some things that that you've learned over the last few years that you might want to pass on to other you know, early stage entrepreneurs that are maybe doing their first gig or maybe just trying to learn more?

 

Mike Roth  36:18  

Oh, man, that's a good question. You know, I think it was definitely a, you know, you mentioned context shift. Earlier, it was most definitely that for me, I had to, you know, learn a new space, learn a new industry, learn how all of the pieces of starting a tech company come together, from sales, to marketing, to running a product team, how to build a product, you know, user interface, design, you know, all that kind of stuff, how to test, you know, everything, it was all new. But I think what I will say is that, you know, often a lot of people will say, oh, and ideas are a dime a dozen, I actually think that ideas are some of the most valuable things that any individual can ever have. But, but it's what you choose to do about it, is how you manifest that. And so I saw this opportunity. And like other entrepreneurs, they see an opportunity. And, you know, so if I was offering advice, I would say, look, if you're passionate about it, and you and you, and you think you see something that other people do not see, then you should you should put all of your intellect and all of your energy. And, and not only that, but all of your I don't even think the word determination really does it justice, it's it's just your, your knowing that what you see is to be true. And don't deviate that from that at all. And I think really powerful things start to emerge. And as long as you know how to navigate, you're willing to hustle, you're willing to take massive action at every second of every day, in order to really manifest this and make it real, and it will, it will become real. There were months there when I was walking around downtown Austin trying to figure out who I'm going to talk to next, who's gonna, you know, help me out. And I have this list, I call it that my first next list. And I was hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of lines deep before you and I even men. And so it's, it's not a small task, but it's it's just trusting and what you see. And then the pieces will start to emerge around you. It just takes a while to build that. That motion. But once it builds up to a certain point, I mean, things happen fast.

 

Josh Stephens  38:39  

How's it been for you building a, you know, a cloud based company from the ground up? You know, I think the last time I started a company, well, that's not true. I started a company in October. But the last time I started a purely software driven company. You know, we were building servers in the closet, we're having to order parts and put them together, did them on the internet in the cloud wasn't around. When we were starting that, it seems to me that it's it's so much faster now to start building products. And companies when it's as simple as turning on an AWS instance. And going from there. How has that experience been for you guys?

 

Mike Roth  39:21  

You know, I'd say overall, it's been just fantastic. I'm shocked every day by how First of all, we could spend, we could have spent this whole time talking about our team. Our team in our team is just absolutely incredible. So I think, you know, just watching them develop in the cloud build in the cloud has been amazing. I'm just everyday, I'm fascinated by how much they can accomplish, and how complex it is. But I think that's the beauty of building in the cloud. The downside I would say to the cloud is that you know, if you don't have AWS credits or credits from another cloud provider, and then all the stuff associated tools and subscriptions that you need like a CI CD pipeline or, you know, just other tools that could be kind of costly. That I would say the the idea that launching a startup, for pennies on the dollar, I don't think you can really do that anymore. I think it's, it's a little bit more expensive. In today's world, if you really want to do it right and be competitive.

 

Josh Stephens  40:25  

It's interesting, we, we talked a lot about this trend at Elsewhere Partners with my team there because we focus on investing in bootstrapped businesses or businesses that have been, you know, very cash smart on their route to success. And you know, that the way that people bootstrap businesses is so different now than it was 10 years ago. And I think that getting credits from your cloud provider, whether it's AWS from Amazon, or Google Cloud Platform, or even Microsoft Azure, a lot of companies are able to get that first 100,000 in Cloud Credits, and then kind of grow from there. And I think it's a good measure, because if you have $100,000, of free credit towards your cloud provider, and a couple of founders who can work together, well, maybe one that's thinking about go to market and one focused on product engineering. You know, you can start to grow pretty quickly and and see where that takes you to. So I'm, I'm pretty fascinated by how the evolution of bootstrap business is changing. And what that'll mean to investors like me that like to invest in bootstrap companies that are growing fast. Mike has been enjoy having you on the show. Is there anything else you'd like to talk about with respect to Evo security, and and where you're headed?

 

Mike Roth  41:42  

Nothing in particular, you know, we're just so grateful and thankful that you've been involved with our venture. I, you know, it always there's always a bit of luck required, you know, to find success in a startup. And we're fortunate today to also be in a white hot space, not only from the identity standpoint, but also I think the MSP world is become a really main focus for large capital. You know, private equity firms and other investors, you know, and even smaller. So, you know, we're in a good spot, and we're just really excited about our future. So appreciate the opportunity to be on today.

 

Josh Stephens  42:20  

What you're very welcome. I love the product. I love what Evo Security is doing. I love that it's oriented around providing success for the MSP as a business and the MSP employees, the engineers in the work they do, and providing a secure and economical solution for their customers. I think it's still our product. And I'm, I'm looking forward to bringing you back on the show a year from now and maybe a year from then and, and see how the company is growing. So it's it's been a great joy to have you on the show today. With that, I think we'll wrap it up. Thanks so much, Mike.

 

Mike Roth  42:52  

Thanks, Josh. Appreciate it.

 

Josh Stephens  42:56  

That's it, everyone. And thank you for joining Capital GEEK, subscribe via Apple, Stitcher or any platform where you usually find fantastic podcast. Tune in again soon for another great episode of Capital Geek.