Launching a cybersecurity startup? Do this.

by Black Hat Middle East and Africa
Launching a cybersecurity startup? Do this.

Welcome to the new 61 cyber warriors who joined us last week. 🥳 Each week, we'll be sharing insights from the Black Hat MEA community. Read exclusive interviews with industry experts and key findings from the #BHMEA23 keynote stage.

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This week we’re focused on…📣

How to build a high-performing team for your startup. 

Why? 💭

Because at #BHMEA22, Mohammed Almeshekah (Founder and Managing Partner at Outliers Venture Capital) said: 

“Don’t build a team that is very homogenous because you’re going to miss opportunities.” 

How diverse teams identify and leverage more opportunities 👥

We’re talking about diversity of everything, here: gender, race, nationality, education, socio-economic background, industry experience, and more. 

A diverse team doesn’t just let you tick a corporate responsibility box and feel good about yourself. 

It allows your startup to: 

  • Operate effectively in different markets. Different countries and sectors have different working practices, and it’s hard to run a business if you don’t have a lived experience of the everyday details involved in negotiating work in a particular place.
  • Benefit from diverse networks. Everyone on your team has their own personal and professional network. If your entire company studied at the same college or started their working lives in the same corporation, then your network will be limited. If you build a diverse team with different backgrounds, then your startup will have a much broader network to explore – with potential business opportunities in different sectors and countries. As Almeshekah put it, “If people only have homogenous networks it doesn’t create a multiplying effect.”
  • Develop products that solve relevant problems. Diverse teams have faced diverse security challenges in different educational and professional settings. They’ll give your startup a more holistic perspective on security – and enable you to collectively solve problems that are relevant to your market. 

And this is supported by research 🌐

A growing body of evidence shows that diverse teams enable more growth and greater profitability.

For example:

  • Diverse teams avoid more mistakes. Researchers have found that diverse teams tend to make better decisions, and when a team is homogenous it’s more likely that errors won’t be spotted. If a problem doesn’t apply to anyone on your team, then it’s less likely that anyone on your team will spot the problem.
  • A study by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity at an executive level were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability – and this applies for ethnic and cultural diversity too. Those in the top quartile for ethnic diversity outperformed the least diverse companies by 36%.
  • Talent retention is easier for diverse companies. It’s estimated that staff turnover costs the tech industry around USD $16 billion per year. And diversity within a team increases employee retention – 2022 research by Sensu Insight found that 31% of Gen Z (those currently aged between 16-24) will choose to work for employers that prioritise diversity and inclusion. 

As a cybersecurity professional, do you prefer working in diverse teams?

1. Yes vote

2. No vote

3. I don’t know 🤔 vote

Startups have a diversity advantage

Almeshekah said: 

“Diversity is hard – if it was easy everyone would’ve done it.”

But diversity is much easier to achieve if you start working on it right from the start.

If you run an early-stage startup, don’t wait until you’ve grown bigger to get proactive about diversity. Instead of choosing to work with the most familiar and comfortable team, go bigger. 

Seek a wider range of experiences and perspectives, and don’t be afraid of working with people who challenge your own viewpoint and ask questions that make you reconsider your default position. 

Build a diverse team from the start – and you’ll be strides ahead of competitors when you’re ready to scale, and especially when you want to tap into new markets.

 Do you have an idea for a topic you'd like us to cover? We're eager to hear it! Drop us a message and share your thoughts. Our next newsletter is scheduled for 24 October 2023.

Catch you next week,
Steve Durning
Exhibition Director

P.S. - Mark your calendars for the return of Black Hat MEA from 📅 14 - 16 November 2023. Want to be a part of the action?

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