Be it major cities like Atlanta getting hacked or individuals losing their homes during cyber scams, digital vulnerabilities create real-world headaches for people and businesses every day.
But there is a catch. As important as cybersecurity is, it is really hard to get people to care about it.
“Cybersecurity is a major buzzword, but not big enough for folks to pay up to [until] something goes wrong,” Berryman told Hypepotamus. “And at that point, you’re gonna pay probably 10-20 times more.”
Taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity is what Cybershield Security, founded by Reed, is all about.
Headquartered in the Metro Charlotte area, Cybershield Security currently has three pillars. The first is its Cybersecurity-as-a-service (CSaaS) for early-stage startups and small businesses in need of proactive monitoring.
The platform scans a company’s website, along with its third-party integrations services, for security issues, vulnerabilities, and misconfigurations. This is crucial because companies simply don’t have the time to ensure all the apps their employees use are updated or have the right security protocols turned on.
“We’re helping [people] avoid what they were avoiding to begin with…which is caring about cybersecurity,” added Reed.
Startup helping startups
Cybersecurity is certainly a social problem. And for early-stage startups, it is often a true nightmare.
Alongside its monitoring platform, Cybershield’s other two business pillars include consulting and training services. Part of that is providing virtual CISO (chief information security officer) work.
The startup is specifically using their products and services to help other startups.
That focus comes from their own journey scaling Cybershield. Reed and Berryman, both graduates of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, hit the pitch circuit hard when they looked to fundraise and grow its early-stage idea. While they received its first bit of funding in the form of a grant from NC IDEA SEED in the spring of 2022, the team saw an opportunity to scale outside of the traditional VC world.
“We live in a society now where VC is all the buzz and raising funds is all the buzz,” said Berryman. “We’re admittedly not raising funds right now.”
Instead, Cybershield is looking to capture the accelerator market.
After speaking to over 50 programs across the country, the team realized just how neglected the topic of cybersecurity is at accelerators and startup hubs.
“[Accelerators] go over finance, they go over sales, they go over marketing…but cybersecurity is not [talked about],” said Berryman, who serves as the startup’s Chief Strategy Officer. That leaves early-stage startups vulnerable to cyber attacks that could quickly wipe out their entire business.
“Our go-to-market has been to approach the startup accelerators across the country to provide that consistent training,” added Berryman.
Cybershield’s ideal client is a startup that is in the pre-seed or seed stage, small businesses, and nonprofits that do not have dedicated cybersecurity resources yet.
Ultimately, Cybershield wants to be part of the ecosystem of tools a startup uses to keep their data safe online.
“Cybershield Security desires to be every businesses first cybersecurity platform!” said Reed. “We may not be your only cyber platform forever, but we want to be the first which allows a business to build a strong cyber foundation and cybersecurity plan. That will ultimately grow and morph into something else as the business scales.”