It has been such a pleasure working with the Symmetry team since leading their seed investment a year ago. Their positive attitudes, innovative spirit, infectious likability, high-achieving results, and passion for the space has made the progress below possible:
Over 50 CISO introductions resulting in positive feedback
Engaged advisors at the top of their fields at companies such as Auth0, Netflix, IQT, and Mastercard
A team expansion growing from 3 to 9 individuals
Over 100 customer demos which provided the team an opportunity to refine their product roadmap and cultivate empathy for the core problem
A clearly defined category (Data Store and Object Security; DSOS) and market leading solution
Considering all of their successes over time, I’m delighted to focus this post by looking back: when I first met them, why I decided to be a Founding Investor at Symmetry, and how I can replicate this experience in the future. To do so, I always enjoy leveraging a framework we all know and love: “Who, What, When, Where & Why” (Skipping the “How” since that’s Symmetry’s secret sauce).
Who: The team is the beating heart of any startup: they are the folks that do the work to solve their customers’ problems and are the ones that shape the company. Looking back at meeting Mohit Tiwari, co-founder at Symmetry Systems, for the first time, two things stuck out to me:
The introduction came from a trusted friend/advisor who knew this space inside and out.
When getting to know the company, the team continuously demonstrated curiosity, empathy and intelligence.
After a year, this continues to be true and a key contributor to their seamless ability to get in front of 50+ customers.
What: Does the team know how to build an enterprise class solution that scales. Hearing their customers talk about Symmetry was telling here. Customers going from thinking it was impossible to protect data in a microservices architecture to pilots running in externally-facing production applications was telling.
When: Timing is so critical when investing in the early stages. Nothing is more inefficient than investing to solve a problem before the problem is real. When looking at data breach trends, patterns in the cybersecurity landscape, data storage investments, and speaking with CISOs, data has always been a priority; it was just a question of feasibility. To further validate the seed-stage thesis before investing, I caught up with 17 security engineering leaders in a week, who shared a similar perspective.
Where: The problem Symmetry set out to solve had been on my mind for years before I met them. Multiple intersecting trends were driving focus on data security:
Global privacy regulations turned everyone’s attention to data and the privacy implications associated with it.
Security breaches are occurring more frequently: the difference between a “security incident” and “security breach” is commonly due to an impact to sensitive data (i.e. ransomware, business email compromise, third party risks).
The data security market has been under-resourced for a long time despite being a billion-dollar market. All of the incumbents were decades behind in supporting the latest data stores, data objects and latest ways of working.
Why: Lastly, I wanted to know if the team had empathy for the customer. This was pertinent because it’s all too common to find startups that build a solution in search of a problem. This is where Mohit and the team’s personality shined. Just like they quickly gained empathy for me while fundraising, they clearly demonstrated empathy for practitioners via their references and product roadmap. I’m thrilled for Symmetry to have launched after working together for a year and look forward to future years of continuous growth personally, professionally and together.