It’s the watchword for Venture Capitalists, investors, Sharks on Shark Tank and any CEO worth his 401K.
In June 2010, Stu Sjouwerman sold Sunbelt Software and retired.
For 5 days.
That was the end of his retirement and the beginning of his next company.
Six years later, Stu’s new company, KnowBe4, did this:
“We have seen consecutive growth for a record 15 straight quarters, and more recently a stellar 2300% growth rate from 2013 to 2016. We made it into the INC 500 and the Deloitte Fast 500 this year.”
Lightning Strikes Twice
So Stu and I went out to lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant.
As soon as we sat down, he uttered two words: unmitigated growth. (I quickly looked up unmitigated to make sure I understood him perfectly: “absolute; unqualified”.)
Stu explained his vision, the new business, and what he considered true business growth.
He mentioned this thing called “Security Training” to eliminate any company’s most vulnerable point: employee gullibility from malicious emails that seek to gain access to a company and its networks and bank accounts.
In short, I learned:
- The criminal economy in Eastern Europe is the size of Italy (Economic crimes refer to illegal acts committed by an individual or a group of individuals to obtain a financial or professional advantage)
- Anyone with a bank account is a potential victim
- 91% of data breaches start with a successful phishing attack (you know the emails that send you some “alarming email” about an account being suspended or whatever and then asks you to “login” to avoid cancellation—only it’s the hacker who you’re giving your data to)
Stu knew this space very well from his earlier companies.
So Security Training needed a name (and a brand and a leadership position).
Growth Begins with G (As in, “Gee…”)
Well, nothing beats being able to predict an outcome, and have the necessary insight needed to make such an accurate prediction.
And Stu’s ability to predict the future included his branding partner (me).
This insight of prediction led to the new name: KnowBe4—to convey the idea of being knowledgeable enough, prepared enough and forewarned against seemingly innocent but malicious hacker tricks.
The visual brand identity and slogan rolled out from that foundation (i.e., Human error. Conquered.) since hackers thrive on fooling people, taking human kindness, trust or lack of preparedness and abusing it.
This was followed by what the brand did in terms of brand story.
Business Growth: Up Close and Personal with the CEO Behind This
I recently was in town where Stu’s company is headquartered and here is the man and what he’s accomplished with the brand since we started 6 years ago.
If you lack a road map to navigate your brand’s growth, I would like to offer you a free consultation as outlined here.
Update to Becoming a $1 Billion Unicorn
Since this was first published, Stu and his team have continued to CRUSH IT exceeding a $1 Billion valuation. Here is a little visit when I got the update.
And here’s an actual quarter-by-quarter graph that covered their building’s headquarters.
If you want to grow your brand, let’s talk.