Roy Dagan of SecuriThings On The 5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App, SaaS or Software Business

Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readDec 19, 2021

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Stop, think and analyze. Adjust leadership style if you need to, so you are not always blazing ahead at 1K miles per hour. When you move too fast, you miss things, make mistakes. You ultimately lose perspective and quality. Speed is important, but not always the most important factor in growing a company.

As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SaaS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Roy Dagan.

Roy Dagan is CEO and & Co-founder of SecuriThings — the provider of the first IoTOps solution designed to help organizations maximize their devices’ operational efficiency and security. He started the company after many years of building cyber security, risk management and intelligence systems. Prior to SecuriThings, Roy held multiple roles leading product management teams in a range of companies including RSA, The Security Division of EMC and NICE Systems.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I took a liking to building products early on in my career. Right after leaving the Israel Defense Forces, I worked as a product manager at a large corporation called NICE. I knew working for a large company would teach me some valuable lessons, although I wasn’t sure that I’d remain a large-company person.

After NICE, I held another product role at RSA, where I met my co-founder Raanan Lidji. We were both intrigued by cybersecurity, risk and intelligence. The real catalyst for founding SecuriThings was the rapid rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). Being product people, we had a knack for problem solving and saw this was a severely underserved area in technology. Companies were deploying millions of IoT devices, blindly and poorly secured — with no real way of managing them at scale. That was the birth of SecuriThings.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

It was more a cascade or sequence of ideas that kept growing based on the realization that “Hey, IoTOps management is a huge unsolved problem.” But we didn’t start out that way.

Actually, my first inclination was to develop a solution that addressed a particular IoT cybersecurity need, and that was the first iteration of SecuriThings. But the more we grew, the more we realized that IoT operations was the major challenge our customers had. From access points to cameras to building management systems, many enterprises have thousands of IoT devices powering mission-critical security and operations use cases. And those that don’t, soon will. Yet, they have no way of understanding if all of these devices are available and secure.

That’s why we eventually expanded the platform to meet all of these operational challenges, which is what we focus on today.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Getting that first customer is hard, but creating a new category is harder. The customers are the visible part. The very challenging behind-the-scenes part is the painstaking process of analyzing and learning the space and the problem you’re going to solve, and conceptualizing what a solution will look like. You have to be relentless and patient — knowing there is no certainty that any customer will buy the solution when the work is done.

It’s hard for me to single out one particular hard moment in time. Building a company and category from scratch presents everyday challenges. But it’s more about perspective. I personally enjoy it — and that’s really the only way to succeed. Enjoy the journey!

The more you work with customers and refine the product, the more rewarding it becomes. There is nothing like knowing that you’re helping customers solve a major paint point.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Going extremely well — as it should, if you nail the product-market fit and have a team that works well with customers. For me it’s less about “grit” and “resilience”; it’s about taking delight in helping customers. There’s nothing like having a customer say something like “SecuriThings has been a game-changer for us” or “SecuriThings has saved our team so much time.” This is why we’re in this business to begin with — to solve problems.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

It wasn’t a strategic disaster, but it is definitely one that a lot of entrepreneurs can relate to — where you hope the customer doesn’t see you sweating. A few years ago, we were traveling to meet some partners and were about to start a live demo. We brought our equipment, plugged everything in, started the checks — and all was working well. We then started the presentation, got to the demo, and surprise, this time “it decided” not to work! I was talking, trying to stall time while I rebooted the equipment and the team was trying to solve the issue in the background. It was probably a couple of minutes, but it felt like weeks. I was tap dancing all along hoping it would be up and running soon; it was torture.

At some point I just decided to give it another shot, hoping it would work this time, and it did! The funny part was my colleague’s reaction once we got it working, almost jumping in joy, while I was trying to act like an Oscar winner as if everything was going smoothly all along. You had to have been there.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We have achieved a near-perfect product-market fit — and that’s no easy feat. It’s a rare opportunity to play such an integral role in a movement and to have such an immense impact on an underserved industry. So many companies have been deploying huge numbers of devices, all before the technical capabilities for the operational management and security were properly in place. We’re helping bring companies’ IoT infrastructure and operations forward to the present and beyond.

And of course, we wouldn’t be here without our amazing team, our partners and customers. They make all of this possible. It’s that shared drive to help customers at every step of the way that makes SecuriThings a stellar company.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Stop, think and analyze. Adjust leadership style if you need to, so you are not always blazing ahead at 1K miles per hour. When you move too fast, you miss things, make mistakes. You ultimately lose perspective and quality. Speed is important, but not always the most important factor in growing a company.

My advice: take a step back once a week, once a day. Stop and contemplate things; go for a walk. Trust me, it will save you having to backtrack and fix mistakes you made while you were bulldozing your way through a project.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are so many that have helped get to where we are today, that it’s impossible to mention just one. My family, for one; our investors, employees, customers and partners at SecuriThings is another group. I would need a scroll to name all of them!

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

Today, we have dozens of customers across a number of industries — airports, healthcare facilities, tech industry, and more — that rely on us to automate the security and management of their IoT devices.

We got here by:

Focusing on the customer and ensuring we were providing the best product and service possible.

Ensuring a product-market fit. I say this alot, but that’s because it’s make-or-break.

Listening to customers, taking their feedback — and improving along the way.

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

At its core, pricing always has to be about the value delivered to the customer and we base it on the number of devices the customer has in their environment. Today we can deploy and provide value in less than a day. As far as process, we work with our system integrator partners to arrive at the most accurate pricing.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SaaS? Please share a story or an example for each.

Not to beat a dead horse, but find a great product-market fit; it’s out there, it’s close, so don’t settle for a mediocre fit.

Be ahead on security; over-index on security. If a functional feature needs work, you can survive that. If a security function is deficient, it could have really grave consequences for a SaaS company.

Be agile; things change quickly in the startup world — it can be disconcerting to change all the time.

Listen to customer feedback; they can make or break a young company with their product suggestions and guidance.

Lastly, a very important point: have an employee retention plan and a recruiting pipeline if you plan to grow fast, because good talent is scarce and critical to a business.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Interestingly, we’ve already started a movement: IoTOps. It’s a growing area of responsibility, where teams are accountable for the enterprise’s IoT devices, including automated operations, cybersecurity, and predictive maintenance. In addition, these teams manage the new generation of IoT devices: extracting the data necessary for gleaning critical insights into ongoing operational challenges, and delivering clear business value to the organization. This is our bread and butter and what we evangelize. Once we put the system in the hands of these professionals, we can really see the change it has on their day-to-day lives.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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