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Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Austin Ogilvy, Founder of Thoropass, a continuous compliance and audit management platform that’s raised $98 Million in funding.

Here are the most interesting points from our conversation:

  • Origins of Thoropass: Austin shared how Thoropass was born out of his experiences with compliance challenges during his previous startup, Y Hat, which was later acquired by Alteryx.
  • Market Intersection: Thoropass sits at the intersection of GRC (governance, risk, and compliance), IT audit, and third-party vendor risk management, creating a unified platform for managing digital compliance.
  • Co-Founders and Backgrounds: Austin teamed up with Sam and Eva, whose combined backgrounds in tech and cybersecurity governance at Citigroup created a strong foundation for Thoropass.
  • Early Traction and Growth: Thoropass experienced rapid growth, achieving significant revenue milestones much faster than Austin’s previous ventures, highlighting the importance of timing and market selection.
  • Rebranding Challenges: The company underwent a significant rebranding from its original name, Leica, to Thoropass, which involved extensive logistical changes and was a crucial learning experience.
  • Fundraising Insights: Austin emphasized the importance of storytelling in fundraising, ensuring a single, streamlined process for investors, and leveraging design and creative storytelling to communicate complex concepts effectively.



Focus on Big and Growing Markets:

Choose a market that is both large and expanding. This increases the potential for rapid growth and minimizes the struggle to gain traction. Austin's success with Thoropass compared to his previous venture highlights the significance of market selection.

Streamline Compliance Processes for Faster Sales:

Efficient compliance management can directly impact your top line. By reducing the friction caused by lengthy security reviews and compliance checks, you can accelerate your sales cycles and close deals faster, as demonstrated by Thoropass's focus on automating compliance audits.

Avoid Distractions and Competitor Obsession:

Stay focused on delivering the best product and customer experience without getting sidetracked by competitors. Thoropass succeeded by maintaining a clear vision and not being distracted by the noise in the market.

Importance of a Strong Co-Founding Team:

Partner with co-founders who complement your skills and bring diverse expertise to the table. Austin's collaboration with Sam and Eva, who brought deep technical and industry knowledge, was crucial in addressing the complex compliance challenges effectively.

Get the Company Name Right Early:

Invest time and resources upfront to choose a unique and memorable company name. The rebranding from Laika to Thoropass was a significant and costly process, underscoring the importance of getting it right from the beginning to avoid later disruptions.

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