For Starters: Zheng And JupiterOne’s Rocket Ship To Unicorn Land

(Image by Jackie Sizing)

For Starters season 2—sponsored by Robinson Bradshaw—­­­­­­­­has hit Episode 5, which means we have officially reached the halfway mark. No need to worry, though, because there is still so much left in store for this season with host Anil Chawla carrying through on his promise to chat with founders to discover how startups eventually found product-market fit.

This week, entrepreneur Erkang Zheng sits down with Chawla to talk about his startup, JupiterOne. As the founder and CEO, Zheng created this software startup to help companies tackle cybersecurity issues after noticing that the security industry was not only broken, but not getting any better. Through talking with Chawla, Zheng is able to illustrate how what started as a simple idea transformed pretty quickly into a runaway success, reaching unicorn status within two years of its launch. [We profiled Zheng last July and also named JupiterOne to our 2021 Startups To Watch list.]

Some episode highlights:

  • Zheng said that the idea for this startup came from his own personal struggles with data security, allowing him to know that there were others who needed help dealing with this, just like he did. “All of the years I’ve had this pain for myself, I know there is a market for it,” he said. “I know there are people who need it because of the experiences that have accumulated over the years.” (13:11)
  • From the beginning, Zheng’s goal with JupiterOne was to appeal to larger enterprises, but he knew that in order to achieve this, he would first have to start small. “So that’s how we got started,” he said. “We found people on a much smaller scale, more closer to what we’ve built as a product for ourselves, much closer to our own profile—but with a goal in mind that we are going to extend bigger into more mature and sophisticated environments.” (21:35)
  • Improving your product is important for any CEO, but for Zheng, he said this was crucial to ensure they could expand their market and begin to appeal past their early adopters: “So what we had to do so from a product standpoint is we say we have to now provide a product that is more out of the box, and we have to focus more on user experience, rather than our core functionality in the product.” (26:41)

Listen to this week’s episode below to hear Zheng and Chawla talk about JupiterOne and how it achieved product-market fit. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform so you’ll be notified about each new episode. And as always, thanks to our sponsor Robinson Bradshaw!