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Building Two Open-Source Startups in a Row: Sysdig CEO Loris Degioanni (Part 7)

Posted on Monday, Jul 15th 2019

Sramana Mitra: How do you charge?

Loris Degioanni: We charge based on the number of machines that they need to manage with our platform. It’s the typical function of the number of servers that you’re running.

Sramana Mitra: What is the next milestone after you started monetizing? What are some of the major milestones based on this model that you came up with?

Loris Degioanni: After you start monetizing, that’s when the fun and hard parts start. My focus was growing the business. That’s when you need to start having marketing. You need to start having sales. You need to start having product management. You need to start having support and customer success. We had to build them and make sure to keep the business and the whole effort balanced.

If you recall, I was telling you that we bet on a relatively small market hoping that the market would grow. I remember I was in a Board meeting saying, “We believe this is real, but we’re still not sure.” Then in 2017, it was happening.

Now the biggest worry is, are we able to capitalize on our first mover advantage without being over-competed by someone bigger than us? You start growing more into acceleration mode. This is one of the reasons why I stepped down around a year ago to make space for our current CEO. I felt it would grow the company.

Sramana Mitra: How much were you doing in revenue before you brought in an external CEO?

Loris Degioanni: I don’t think I’m allowed to disclose exact revenue numbers, but the company had already crossed seven figures in revenue.

Sramana Mitra: Funding-wise, you had seed and Series A at this point?

Loris Degioanni: I had just completed Series C when the new CEO joined. 

Sramana Mitra: What is the total amount of money you had raised at that point?

Loris Degioanni: That would have been $50 million.

Sramana Mitra: The transition from founder to an external CEO is a very tricky transition. How does that go for you?

Loris Degioanni: It’s the best choice that I have made for a number of reasons. From my personal point of view, I am more like a creator. I thrive in envisioning something and making that something a reality. That’s when I’m really happy. I love everything about Sysdig.

When I was under the shower or falling asleep at night, I was still thinking of creative solutions. I felt that in order to be good at something, it has to be your passion. The way you excel is through something you can’t stop thinking about. What I was still thinking about was the technical side. For sure, the business side is going to suffer.

I need somebody that’s passionate on the business side as I am on the technical side. Doing this transition, it made me so much happier. I’m still part of this opportunity but in ways that I really love. I work with the technical team to make sure that Sysdig remains one of the best innovative companies in our space.

At the same time, I have someone I can trust to take care of everything else. I know that he will do a better job than me. Finding that person was quite hard. It took a long time and a lot of dating with many people. It took a lot of luck.

The current CEO Suresh is a very good person and fits very well with the mission and culture. The transition was really smooth. I am now doing an MBA by just sitting and witnessing in a very close way, how you run a business. I’m learning a lot daily.

The probability of a transition like this going well is sub 50% partly because of the unwillingness of the founder. I don’t have the ego of running the company. I want to be part of this. I will be part of this until this adventure ends. This is what I’m doing and nothing else. It’s important for me and the company to have the right people. It’s also a matter of luck.

Sramana Mitra: Perfect. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Building Two Open-Source Startups in a Row: Sysdig CEO Loris Degioanni
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