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Welcome to another episode of Unicorn Builders! Today, our unicorn builder is Hari Ravichandran, CEO and founder of Aura, a digital security company that’s raised over $500 million in funding. Aura stands out in the tech landscape for its innovative approach to digital security, aiming to provide comprehensive protection for individuals and families in an increasingly connected world.

Key topics discussed:

  • Hari’s Early Fascination with Computing: Starting from a young age with an 8085 microprocessor, Hari’s passion for technology and computing shaped his future endeavors, laying the groundwork for his innovative contributions to the tech industry.
  • The Leap from Stanford to Startup Life: Hari’s decision to drop out of Stanford during the internet boom of 1997, driven by a desire to be at the forefront of the burgeoning tech revolution.
  • Comparing Tech Booms: Insights into how the startup frenzy of the late ’90s compares to the investment climate of 2021, highlighting the changes in public and private market dynamics over the years.
  • Navigating the Dotcom Bubble Burst: Hari shares the challenges faced when the tech bubble burst in 2001, and the strategic decisions made to steer his company through the crisis.
  • The Journey to IPO: Reflecting on the milestone of taking a company public, Hari discusses the blend of excitement and strategic planning involved in transitioning to a publicly traded entity.
  • The Genesis of Aura: The inspiration behind founding Aura stems from a personal incident of identity theft, underscoring the necessity for robust digital security solutions.
  • Celebrity Influence on Brand and Marketing: Hari discussed the impact of having Robert Downey Jr. involved in Aura’s marketing efforts. Robert Downey Jr.’s participation is part of a broader strategy to build trust and awareness for Aura’s digital security products.
  • Aura’s Growth and Market Positioning: With significant revenue, profitability, and a growing team, Aura is rapidly scaling, leveraging both direct-to-consumer and partnership channels to expand its reach.
  • Founder-Led Marketing and Storytelling: The importance of founder involvement in marketing and storytelling was discussed, with Hari highlighting how personal passion and narrative play a crucial role in connecting with customers and building brand trust.
  • The Future of Aura and Digital Security: Looking ahead, Hari shared his vision for Aura’s role in shaping the digital security landscape, emphasizing the ongoing need to innovate and adapt to protect families in an ever-changing technological environment.


Seize the Moment with Conviction:

When Hari observed the early internet boom, he recognized it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and took decisive action by dropping out of Stanford. This highlights the value of acting with conviction when faced with pivotal industry changes or innovations.

Pivot Based on Market Feedback:

Aura's evolution from focusing solely on identity theft protection to encompassing broader digital security needs demonstrates the importance of listening to customer feedback and adapting your product accordingly. Founders should remain flexible and open to refining their offerings to better meet market demands.

Build a Resilient Team and Business Model:

Hari’s recount of navigating through economic downturns and the dotcom bubble burst provides a vital lesson in resilience. Founders should focus on creating a sustainable business model and a team that can adapt and survive through challenging times.

Prioritize Problem-Solving and Customer Pain Points:

Hari’s focus on solving real-world problems, like digital security for families, serves as a reminder that successful products address clear customer pain points. Founders should ensure their products or services offer tangible solutions to pressing issues faced by their target audience.

Storytelling as a Key to Connecting with Customers:

Hari’s emphasis on storytelling, both as a founder and through partnerships, highlights its importance in marketing and brand-building. Founders should craft compelling narratives around their products that resonate with their target audience, making complex solutions relatable and understandable.

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