Featured Founder: Vikas Bhatia of JustProtect
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 Vikas Bhatia, Founder and CEO of JustProtect, a regulatory compliance management platform that simplifies the distribution and response of internal and 3rd party risk assessments.
What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?
I’ve been in the enterprise cybersecurity and compliance world for almost 20 years. I spent 15 years in corporate, then decided to set up my own successful firm. I realized the hard way that people don’t like paying for consulting but that an assessment was critical to becoming compliant and secure! My (personal) mission is to secure cyberspace one human at a time, so what better way than to simplify compliance assessments — making them super scalable and so easy my mother-in-law could do it! (sorry Mom!) Also, growing a business around my family inspires me every day!
What pain point is your company solving? What gets you excited to go to work every day?
Regulated enterprises are required to perform and respond to risk assessments internally and assess the risk of their 3rd parties. The smaller guys, i.e. startups, may not focus on compliance until it impacts a sale. The average assessment takes 6 weeks, it is expensive for both parties and highly ineffective. JustProtect facilitates enterprise assessments in less than 2 days and we give startups all the tools necessary to accelerate assessment response for free. Getting thanks from our customers and knowing we’re challenging the status quo is very exciting!
Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?
Personally, JustProtect was a product of a failed business. Convincing Jen, my wife, to let me try the business again was very hard. Ultimately, belief in the vision and constantly communicating incremental wins bought me more time! From a business perspective bootstrapping and not being able to raise has presented some real challenges. That being said, if you have belief in what you’re doing, and can be resourceful anything is possible.
Where do you see your company headed next?
We are micro-focused on scaling so gathering ROI data, customer references and accelerating marketing and sales efforts will put us on track for a raise as well as position us for growth mode. On a personal note, I'm headed from NYC to Tampa next so we couldn’t be more excited about the move!
Give us a tactical piece of advice that you'd share with another founder just starting out.
- Talk to as many people with the pain as possible to identify their pain point and the value you can bring. Quantifying this is huge!
- Build later. although it's a double edge sword building too early means carrying too much tech debt
- Don’t underestimate the power of the network...use us!