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BrainGu From a cybersecurity start-up to a SaaS scale-up

BrainGu is currently navigating the intense period of change and growth between the 'Birth phase,' or start-up, and the 'Growth phase,' or scale-up.

BrainGu From a cybersecurity start-up to a SaaS scale-up

When we were founded, we focused on creating the best, custom-developed tools for our clients. Over time, we realized that many of our clients were fighting similar battles. They were moving from legacy technology solutions to cloud-native ones; or they were large, federated organizations needing to develop applications quickly, reliably, and on the same tech stack. We realized that this was a problem that we’d already solved multiple times and that we should develop that solution for the commercial market. This idea became Structsure.

So, you would think that developing Structsure, a software product, would catapult us right into a Growth phase, going from a boutique cybersecurity consulting startup and turning us into a Cloud Native SaaS scale-up...but it wasn’t that easy.

As a brand new company, we knew that we had great tools and that we made really awesome products that our clients loved and that we wanted to scale that awesomeness. However, we had trouble 1. understanding the market and 2. reaching customers who were early adopters of security automation in the course of software development and infrastructure operations before cloud-native and DevSecOps became "household" terms. At times we felt like we were speaking a different language when we were demoing our tech to potential customers who we knew could benefit from “going” Cloud Native and Structsure.

So, Let’s Talk about How We Got to Scale-up from Start-up.

Starting in 2018, we spent the next two years pursuing clients for Structsure. We explored use cases, and business cases within the Federal Civilian Agencies, State and Local government, commercial entities, and generally fell flat. This was due to a combination of agencies not wanting to commit to Cloud-Native, not understanding DevSecOps, financial hurdles, or other challenges.

In 2019, we found our way towards working with the USAF via AFWERX and the opportunities attached to SBIR/STTR contracts. AFWERX is an innovative acquisitions program, based on a model used by Special Operations Command, created to open doors to highly innovative problem-solving startups and small companies via small amounts of money in ways that strip out traditional DoD acquisitions bureaucracy. We thought that we’d be a great fit.

BrainGu first pitched Structsure to AFWERX in 2018 -- and while we initially weren’t chosen, we got great feedback that we were able to roll into Structsure to make it better and for BrainGu to understand the problem space better. Working with AFWERX gave us access to potential customers with defined mission needs and a pipeline of continuous feedback. 2019 showed us that BrainGu and Structures immediate product/market fit was squarely in the DevSecOps space, supporting software factories across the DoD. We would need to scale our business and our technology to take advantage of this market opportunity.

Over that very first year, the mission then was, optimizing Structsure and BrainGu for product/market fit.

Starting in 2020, we did the following to optimize scale and begin the transition from a cybersecurity consulting start-up to a SaaS scale-up:

  • Scaled up our hires to support the high touch nature of defense clients;
  • Created a culture of evolution -- evolving our culture to keep the best while adopting/adapting new ideas as we grow;
  • Emphasized project-oriented and solution-oriented teams; and
  • Developed a new process for incorporating employee feedback to run the company more effectively.

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BrainGu is currently navigating the intense period of change and growth between the 'Birth phase,' or start-up, and the 'Growth phase,' or scale-up.