Featured Founder: Doug Hill of Real Random
Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Doug Hill, Founder of Real Random, which makes true random numbers and eliminates the need to remember passwords.
What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?
I worked in land development, beginning as a project manager and progressing to being an independent land developer. My work included managing risk, project planning and execution, and financial modeling. I decided to launch Real Random after reading Atas Shrugged by Ayn Rand in 2012. I decided that I wanted to make a difference in the world by solving the primary problem in computer security, to literally build a machine that could stop the world.
What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?
The pain point we solve is in removing the predictability in computer security protocols by replacing pseudo-randomness with a consistent and reliable source of true randomness. Stopping bad guys from doing bad things to good people gets me excited every day. Cybercrime is prolific; we want to be part of every tech stack that protects innocent people and organizations.
Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge has been in the development of a machine that is new in the world. It took five years and seven iterations of the hardware to reach the balance between a (5) 9’s uptime device and a build cost that could compete with existing solutions for true random number generation. We overcame the challenge using the 3 P’s: Persistence, Patience and Polish.
Where do you see your company headed next?
We were very fortunate to be selected for the #TBIC Accelerator Program (an Embarc Collective partner). Through the program, we were able to pivot to an approach that has been starting to pay off big! We are now beginning to work with HashiCorp, Bank OZK, and others in pilot programs that will lead to revenue and happy, paying, referenceable customers!
Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.
1. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
2. Figure out your buyer persona first then gather information by conducting interviews that are for market research to determine if you are solving a problem that is worth solving
3. Validate all assumptions big and small by using the network of buyer personas you create
4. Actively manage your priorities to keep your life in balance
5. Be grateful every day and learn from your failures because they are the lessons along the way to success
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