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Alex Tarter: Supporting Global Security With TurgenSec

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Tell us about yourself?

I work in the cyber security field as the CTO for a cyber consulting business in the Defence and Critical Infrastructure sector. I’m also a Director of a startup company specialising in the automated attack surface management space

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

That all you need is an idea and self-belief.

You also need a huge amount of effort, sacrifice and expect it to be long and hard before your efforts pay off.

If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?

I would go back to when I first graduated Uni and started up my first company developing mobile navigation devices for firefighters. I would have told myself to concentrate more on getting funding. The technology was the easy part – back then access to finance was much harder and, as a result, the company was never really viable.

What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?

Experience in the corporate world. Having been on the other side of pitches, I’m familiar with what works, what a customer is looking for, and what makes a good differentiator. Also, an appreciation for the number of ‘no’s you expect before you get a ‘yes’. Ultimately, I think behaviors make a good entrepreneur more than skills. You need tenacity and a willingness to pivot when required.

What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?

Learning to not take things personally, switching off when required – and setting routines.

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Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

There’s more data available today than most people can deal with. Automated AI systems are helping manage this – but the most successful examples are where there’s human and machine collaboration. That’s our approach. We have a fantastic product that is brilliant at identifying where a human analyst should be looking. Cutting down analysis time, prioritising effort, and identifying issues our customers were completely unaware of.

Where do you see your business in five years?

Either as an acquisition into a larger managed security service provider or as a technology platform supporting a network of customers.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?

Building a steady pipeline of customers and keeping customer churn low. We have had great success with our early customer base so we need to keep the quality high and continue to deliver as we scale.

Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?

Identifying where a global cyber consulting company had left a government email server open to the world. That was a bit of a shock to them and their confidence in their capability!

How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?

At the moment it’s more by word of mouth through service providers. We advocate as much as possible through dedicated media such as security-related podcasts, attending shows/conferences. Otherwise, it’s introductions from accelerator schemes and personal introductions.

What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?

Stick with it and have passion. Belief in the person is as important as belief in the solution.

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And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?

The opportunity to grow, support the UK cyber security agenda and feel that accomplishment of having built something.

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