Inside Venture Capital Featured: Rob Pike

Founded in 2014, Cyemptive is a provider of failsafe cybersecurity products and technology. With a leadership team comprised of executives from several of the world’s most powerful technology and security organizations, the company’s focus is on delivering an alternative approach to protecting networks and endpoint devices. More information about Cyemptive Technologies is available at

1. Cyemptive raised a $3.5M round in March – what sort of pitch did you make? What sort of metrics were they interested in?

Our pitch was based on three themes – the disruptive nature of our technology, the quality, and depth of our team and demonstrating our understanding of the importance of the ability to scale in a measured, structured fashion. Our investors had the capability and expertise to understand the potential of our technology and recognize the depth of the team – their focus was primarily seeking to understand the customer outlook and ability to scale. In fact, we were able to give up less equity than normal in an A round because of the traction gained with current customers funding operations, allowing us to focus the A round proceeds on scaling.

2. How was the process of getting this funding different from your earlier rounds? What sort of lessons did you learn from the earlier rounds that were most applicable moving forward?

This was a Series A round, our first “post-seed” round. The main difference was the amount and quality of information we provided to the investors, and the format was much more formalized. During the seed rounds, a key factor as the founder was my personal credibility from previous success. The Series A round was much more dependent on having a real product, customers and growth metrics.

A key lesson which emerged as we progressed was how much more complex it is to pitch a disruptive technology than it is to pitch an evolutionary technology. Many of the Venture Capitalists we pitched were grounded in current technology and appeared to evaluate investments in the context of how the concept being pitched was adding to the current state of technology in the marketplace. In Cyemptive’s case, we proposed an entirely new, totally disruptive technology quite different from what exists in the marketplace today – many VC’s appeared to have a difficult time considering investing in technology quite different than a “familiar” model.

3. What led to your acquisition of Adaptive Technology about a month after announcing your funding round?

We know we have disruptive technology. However, we also know that successful, staged growth depends on several factors – one of the most important being able to effectively service and support our customers in the marketplace. We refuse to risk our technology by not providing our customers with quality service and support as we scale. Our research identified Adaptive Technology Group (ATG) as a successful, quality driven, proven service provider based in the Washington area known to provide “red carpet, white glove” service. We approached ATG to join Cyemptive to lead the service and support needs of our customers as we continue to scale. ATG shared our vision, and we both realized we shared a common culture and values alignment as well.

4. What are your further goals with the new capital? How have your plans evolved in keeping with the new perspectives and horizons your expansion has opened up?

There are three key goals we are focusing on with the new capital;

  1. Continue product development activities to enhance current offerings and bring a new series of v1 products to the marketplace in a planned manner.
  2. Incorporate new customers while maintaining positive cash flow.
  3. Build our staffing levels at a pace to match our scaling plans ensuring we can service and support our customers effectively while at the same time maintaining consistent growth

5. Looking back at your company’s origins, what do you think has changed the most? Do you still feel that you are on track to fulfill the goals you set for the company at the outset?

The thing that has changed the most is our strategic focus. We have evolved from a purely product-development-oriented company to a company that focuses on both quality product development and structured, planned growth supported by quality service and support. We are ensuring we build a strong foundation for sustained growth. Our goals remain intact, our execution model has significantly improved.

6. What sort of competition does Cyemptive face? How does the company interact with industries/fields that intersect with it?

Today, the majority of hackers gain access in seconds to minutes while detection and repair takes days, weeks and months. As stated by USA General Stevenson; “10 years ago, average detection of a breach was 207 days! After $30 billion and 10 years, average detection is now 198 days! “

Cyemptive’s technology cuts detection and repair to seconds. Our technology is fundamentally different from the competition and provides comprehensive, end-to-end protection. Although our competition appears well-established and widely deployed, their effectiveness is minimal as evidenced by the massive extent and success of the cyber-attacks occurring in the world today. Something different is needed – Cyemptive provides that difference.

7. What do you think founders need to be thinking about as they look to enter the increasingly crowded startup space? How has the industry changed since you entered?

Some thoughts for Founders;

  1. Ideas are easy. Making them happen is difficult. Founders need to avoid being distracted by too many ideas at one time. Cyemptive has 7 disruptive, revolutionary inventions to bring to market. The ability to maintain strict focus on only 2 inventions to get them to market first was difficult but essential. This type of focus will continue as we now turn our focus to 2 more of the inventions as the first two are in the market.
  2. Moving your ideas through development and into quality execution and the marketplace needs multiple levels of thinking and varied expertise in each phase. Go find the smartest people you can who have the expertise in key areas to help you build the company.
  3. Realize that bringing disruptive technology into the marketplace is much more complex and difficult than evolutionary technology – requires much blood, sweat and tears. Knowing this and planning for it is essential to maintain the energy needed to lead the company to success.

For more information please contact:

Belinda Young

Rob Pike
Cyemptive Technologies

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