The Startup Playbook

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Ep160 – Sam Crowther (Co-founder & CEO – Kasada) on sales, structure and the founder journey

My guest for Ep160 of The Startup Playbook Podcast was the Co-founder & CEO of Kasada, Sam Crowther.

Sam launched Kasada as a 19 year in 2015 to help protect businesses from bots.

Fast forward 7 years and the company is now used by many Fortune 50 companies and has gone on to raise $39M in funding from leading international and local investors such as Reinventure, Our Innovation Fund and Malcolm Turnbull (the former Prime Minister of Australia).

Despite all of these successes, there have also been plenty of challenging moments and in this interview Sam shares some of those challenges including the period where he doubted his own abilities that ultimately led to him stepping down from the CEO role.

In this interview we discussed:

  • The customer insights that led to Sam pivoting his first business, USig, into Kasada
  • How Sam landed Sportsbet as their first customer and their approach to enterprise sales
  • How they raised funding from investors like Malcolm Turnbull
  • The structures Sam has put into place since returning as CEO that make him a better and more confident leader
  • & much more

Timestamps 

  • 4:53: Sam’s background
  • 6:15: Sam discusses joining Macquarie Bank after graduating from high school to join their fledgling Cyber security department and the early concept that led to Kasada
  • 8:12: The journey of launching USig and the insight that led to the pivot 
  • 10:13: process it took to go through for the actual pivot
  • 11:14: How to attract your early hires to the company
  • 14:50: How they landed SportsBet as their first customer
  • 18:40: How to effectively qualify enterprise sales leads
  • 20:39: How to tease our importance and understanding of the problem by the Enterprise customer
  • 22:20: How to move beyond your own network 
  • 25:13: Kasada’s fund-raising journey and how he brought on investors like OIF and Malcolm Turnbull on to his cap table
  • 31:41: How founders can do their own DD on investors
  • 34:41: Why Sam stepped away from the CEO role
  • 40:37: How founders can create the right structure around them
  • 42:58: How a CEO coach has helped Sam
  • 45:27: When and how to bring in team leads/build structures and how to hire for Its
  • 50:03: How to mitigate against bad hires

Our partners

A big thank you to our podcast partners for this episode

Lawpath

Lawpath’s Legal Advice Plan gives you access to lawyers on demand for one low monthly fee. Create legal documents, sign online and have a lawyer on-call to help you through any legal need for a fraction of the cost.  Lawpath has helped Australian businesses save over $100 million in legal fees, and are offering Startup Playbook listeners up to 20% off their most popular legal plans. Visit lawpath.com/playbook for your exclusive discount and discover an easier way to get your legals sorted.

Scendar 

We’re Scendar, an accounting and advisory practice better described as Finance as a Service (FaaS). We’re focused on founders, funders and startups. Clients that are ever-changing and adapting. We like fast movers. And as you might have guessed, we’re not your basic accountancy. We can take care of tax and the books whilst building a syndicate fund and a multimilliondollar exit strategy.  At Scendar, we’re empowered by our client’s potential. Find out more at Scendar.com

Dovetail Studios 

Dovetail Studios operates a venture studio and VC to transform ambitious ideas into unstoppable businesses. On top of being a renowned product development partner for startups like Afterpay, they also operate a VC fund to invest in early-stage companies that go through their venture studio program. So if you’re a non-technical, early-stage founder looking for a talented team to help supercharge your success, check out dovetailstudios.com

Links Mentioned 

Sam’s Links 

People Mentioned 

Companies Mentioned 

Previous Episodes Mentioned 

Special Thanks:

Special thanks to David Shein, Malcolm Turnbull and Tyrone Dougherty for their help with research for this interview! 

Feedback/connect/say hello:

Rohit@startupplaybook.co
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Credits:

Music: Paycheck

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