I’ve written before about the benefits athletes bring to entrepreneurship and business. This week I had the chance to address these questions with tech entrepreneur Chad Bennett, of Utah. At just 37, he has led two of his three prior companies (as I have) to multiple Inc. 500 wins. He’s an Ironman finisher. And he’s a father of five.
Now he’s publicly launching his newest venture, HEROIC.com, to decentralize cybersecurity and make AI-powered protection available to the masses.
Bennett’s background in cybersecurity began at age 14, when he taught himself to audit online systems for vulnerabilities. Later, he managed cybersecurity for one of the largest computing departments at Brigham Young University. In 2011, he founded Lancera, an enterprise software development and cybersecurity services company that ranked #149 and #146 on the Inc. 500 list of companies. One of Lancera’s clients was my own company, Fishbowl.
In 2015, frustrated with existing antivirus and modern cybersecurity solutions, he merged his experience in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence into HEROIC.com.
What led Bennett to centralize his efforts on blockchain?
“I initially became interested in cryptocurrency in 2012 when I starting mining for bitcoins after reading Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper [A peer-to-peer electronic cash system]” he says. “I recognized the disruptive effect blockchain and cryptocurrencies will have on the future of technology and business. It became the basis for our business.”
Bennett spoke about a future where cyber threats will not only threaten our data and devices but could also affect the lives of the people we love. As an open platform, HEROIC.com encourages users to share the threat data they discover in exchange for cybersecurity-focused cryptocurrency. The data is then available to developers and companies for use in the creation of intelligent solutions on the HEROIC.com platform.
As more users join the network, the more secure everyone in the ecosystem becomes, Bennett explains, creating a new paradigm for cyber protection.
The company has not yet reached profitability, relying on personal investment and revenue from its early customers thus far. At the time of our interview, Bennett said the company is planning to raise additional funds through a token sale (also known as an ICO, or Initial Coin Offering).
Token sales are a newer method of crowdfunding in which people invest in a specific technology or company in exchange for cryptocurrency tokens. They can use the tokens within the software or can exchange them for cash and other cryptocurrencies. According to Cointelegraph, companies raised more than $6 billion via token sales in 2017. Like other forms of investment, cryptocurrency has been buffeted by recent market volatility, but along with the traditional market is showing renewed strength at the time of this posting.
The HEROIC.com offering will be helped, he believes, by the fact the company is well beyond the idea stage and serving a base of several thousand paying customers. The company has also amassed a growing advisory team that includes David McDonald, a former senior manager at Dell and Motorola; Stephan Tual, the former CCO of Ethereum and David Bradford, who was instrumental in the IPO of Fusion-IO, with a valuation of more than $1 Billion. A successful raise would facilitate a rapid expansion in 2018, Bennett says.
Here are Bennett’s words of advice for prospective bitcoin investors and fellow entrepreneurs:
- Do your research. Because token sales, ICOs, and cryptocurrencies are largely unregulated, it is imperative that you have a good understanding of companies, teams, advisors and technologies. Study the sector in the press.
- Understand the structure. Study any token sale to ensure you know what to expect in timeframes, liquidity, and potential restrictions.
- Secure crypto investments with a hardware wallet. Cryptocurrencies represent real value that needs to be properly secured in the same way as any other tangible asset. Bennett recommends Trezor and Ledger Nano wallets as his hardware of choice.
- Don’t expect a quick or instant return. Just as in traditional investments, time in the market is better than timing the market, Bennett believes. As token sales and cryptocurrencies become more mainstream, they are likely to be protected by regulation (a positive thing, I believe). We can anticipate it taking time to realize returns as these emerging companies develop their markets and value.
- Invest with a long-term view. Contribute to companies you believe will be around for a long time, and invest with money you willing to lose if unexpected problems occur.
The HEROIC.com team is proceeding in a new arena with its eyes wide open. But if Bennett’s prior success is an indication, the company is poised for success. I look forward to taking a further look at their progress in the seasons to come.