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Conversation
Highlights

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 Mike Long, CEO and Founder of Kosli, a DevOps tool that automates the collection of evidence for compliance and auditing, and has raised $3.5 million in funding.

Key topics discussed in this episode:

  • Mike’s background as a technologist, with experience in industries like oil and gas robotics and DevOps consulting for highly regulated sectors such as automotive, banking, defense, and healthcare.
  • The influence of the book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” by Thomas Kuhn on Mike’s thinking about paradigm shifts in science and software development practices.
  • The common problem faced by companies in regulated industries: the need to follow a risk management process, adhere to that process, and provide proof of compliance to auditors.
  • Kosli’s solution of automating the collection of evidence to prove that every change follows the required process, saving time and effort during audits.
  • The company’s contrarian branding approach, using colorful and fun elements to stand out in the traditionally dry and process-driven world of compliance and auditing.
  • The long-term vision of helping companies manage risk as software becomes increasingly critical and regulated in various industries.

Actionable
Takeaways

Identify Common Pain Points Across Industries:

While companies in regulated sectors often believe they have unique compliance challenges, Mike found that the underlying problems were remarkably similar. By focusing on these common pain points, such as the need for process adherence and audit readiness, founders can develop solutions with broad applicability and appeal.

Embrace Contrarian Branding:

In industries dominated by conservative and traditional approaches, adopting a colorful, fun, and unconventional brand identity can help you stand out and attract attention. Don't be afraid to challenge the status quo and inject some personality into your marketing and design.

Explore Underserved Community Niches:

Mike identified a lack of dedicated communities and events for professionals working on compliance and security issues within DevOps. By taking the initiative to foster these communities, even in the absence of established conferences or forums, founders can position themselves as thought leaders and gather valuable insights and feedback.

Prioritize Investor Fit Over Funding Urgency:

While the pressure to secure funding can be intense, especially in a challenging economic climate, it's crucial to take the time to find investors who genuinely understand and support your vision. Rushing into a relationship with the wrong investors can lead to misaligned expectations and strategic missteps down the road.

Capitalize on the Density of Silicon Valley:

Despite the hype around other emerging tech hubs, Silicon Valley remains unparalleled in terms of the concentration of experienced professionals, the ease of face-to-face networking, and the culture of paying it forward. Founders who can tap into this ecosystem, even if it means relocating, can benefit from accelerated learning, serendipitous connections, and access to a deep pool of talent and resources.

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