Dr Shahram Mossayebi is the co-founder and CEO of Crypto Quantique, a company providing cybersecurity tools to protect internet of things (IoT) devices.
The London-based company’s cloud-based and embedded tools use “advanced cryptography” to protect internet-connected devices from hackers. Crypto Quantique has also created a patented semiconductor design to secure IoT hardware.
Founded in 2015, the IoT firm has secured more than $10m in funding from investors, including Entrepreneur First and the European Innovation Council.
Mossayebi holds an MSc in information security and a PhD in post-quantum cryptography, both from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Before founding Crypto Quantique, Mossayebi worked as a self-employed cybersecurity consultant.
In this week’s Founder in Five Q&A, Mossayebi explains why it’s crucial to understand customer pain points early on, reveals his most important early hire, and explains why he admires the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
1. What one thing do you wish you’d done differently when launching your company?
Shahram Mossayebi: As a deep tech company finding the product-market fit is very challenging. One could have a big vision and have great technology but those don’t necessarily solve the pain points of customers.
It is salient to understand what are the actual pain points that the product can address ASAP and find the product messaging for it. If I were to start again I’d undertake the product-market fit discovery very differently.
2. Which role was the most important early hire you made?
SM: As a deep-tech founder I always wanted to stay close to the product, sales and marketing. Hiring someone to lead on operations and finance has allowed me to delegate much of the time-consuming admin work and instead spend more time with product and commercial teams.
3. Who’s a leader you admire in your industry?
SM: I really admire Morris Chang, founder of TSMC. He revolutionised the semiconductor industry and as a result, propelled forward the digital age!
He invented the fabless business model which meant any company in the world could design and build a chip for any sector without the huge CAPEX required to actually own a fab.
Then he managed to stay ahead of the competition by adding more services and IPs for their customers.
4. How do you prevent burnout?
SM: I have not been very successful in this in all honesty. But being able to switch off for at least one day per week has helped me a lot.
I usually try to do an activity which helps take my mind off work for a day. These could be playing different sports, meditation, cultural things like going to the theatre or a museum, and best of all spending time with family and friends.
5. Is there a technology that the world would be better without?
SM: No! Technology is not the problem, people are and how they (ab)use the technology!
Founder in Five – a UKTN Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative tech startups, scaleups and unicorns – is published every Friday.