Running a startup is no small feat. It takes hours and hours of work that mostly involves a small group of people doing everything it takes to run a company — from the creation of a product to the marketing of it, which often in beginning phases includes going door-to-door to try and find buyers.
So, running a second startup after the first didn’t take off after four years of hard work might seem daunting — but for Halston van der Sluys and Cameron Stuart, putting in the work is part of the fun.
“For me personally what is so appealing about it is it’s up to you how far you take it. The work you put in is what you get out,” Stuart said. “It teaches you about resiliency.”
Until a year ago, van der Sluys and Stuart, who have known each other since they were in sixth grade, were the co-founders of WiWaves, a company which tried to make a product for long-distance wireless charging. They had $20,000 in funding from Beta Boom, but ultimately, van der Sluys said they couldn’t get the charger efficient enough and the parts they needed continually went out of stock, making it too expensive to go on.
“We did not want to stop, but at some point you just have to say, alright, we’re calling it,” van der Sluys said. Like Stuart however, van der Sluys feels like he learned a lot about persistence and doesn’t seem to have any regrets.
Now, the duo is focused on a totally new, different product: cybersecurity software for small businesses.
Observing the facts, it seems like a much better fit, at least for van der Sluys, who is studying cybersecurity at Utah State University. Stuart said it’s also less expensive to make and easier to track improvements.
The new company, which will have its first anniversary in August, is called Pyramid Security. The platform allows small businesses to find vulnerabilities in their websites so they can fix those vulnerabilities and protect themselves against hackers.
According to van der Sluys, nearly half of all cyber attacks are directed towards small businesses, and other data suggests over half of small businesses that suffer from cyber attacks are unable to recover and are forced to close.
“We’re trying to make it so small businesses instead are more aware, because if your business gets hacked, chances are ... you’re not going to be able to recover from that hack and your business goes out of business,” van der Sluys said.
The software platform comes with several different options: the free version, the “standard” version and the “pro” version. Both the standard and the pro versions are available on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. The company also recently released an iOS app which is free to download.
The scan on the free version takes anywhere between five minutes to 25 minutes, and once it’s done scanning, user websites receive a score out of 100 that indicates what risk level the website is at, the most dangerous vulnerabilities and bugs on the website, and a detailed explanation of the vulnerability or vulnerabilities and how they can be fixed. The standard version, van der Sluys said, goes “more in depth.”
The iOS app protects users’ phones from cyber attacks on the phone itself and it can be linked to social media accounts and the like to alert users if someone is trying to hack into their account. The iOS app was only released recently and Stuart said they are still adding new features, and van der Sluys said they are also working on an Android version of the app.
“Mobile attacks are rising and we’re trying to cut down on those too,” Stuart said.
Although the co-founders are currently “bootstrapping” it — funding their company with their own money — they’re still receiving mentorship from the managing partners of Beta Boom and they feel very passionate about their product.
“I’ve just seen too many (small) businesses get hacked where it’s tough for them to recover,” van der Sluys said. “We want to give everyone the opportunity to protect themselves as if they were a medium and large enterprise”
Pyramid Security products are currently in beta testing, but the company recently released a Wordpress plugin and hinted at a “surprise” product being released in the summer that Stuart said will make the product even simpler to use.
“Everything is hackable,” van der Sluys said. “I’m trying to prevent it so people can keep on thriving the American dream and help others.”
Learn more about Pyramid Security products and test your website for vulnerabilities by visiting https://pyramidsec.io/.