My guest today is Christina Cacioppo, founder of Vanta, a security and compliance software business founded in 2017. In our conversation, Christina brings to life the idea of “finding a problem that exists and fixing it.” We dive into the experiences that led her to launch Vanta, the strategy she took to build, price, and distribute the product, and we touch on her lessons from running a growing organization. I always admire the drive that founders have when they set off to build something -- Christina fits that mold, and you will hear about how she embarked on a self-taught journey early in her career. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Christina.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
This episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is the ultimate marketing platform for e-commerce. With targeted segmentation, email automation, SMS marketing, and more, Klaviyo helps you create your ideal customer experience.
See why Klaviyo is trusted by more than 50,000 brands, like Living Proof, Solo Stove, and Nomad, to help them grow their business. For a free trial, check out klaviyo.com/founders.
This episode is brought to you by Eight Sleep. Eight Sleep's new Pod Pro Cover is the easiest and fastest way to sleep at your perfect temperature. Simply add the Pod Pro Cover to your current mattress and start sleeping as cool as 55°F or as hot as 110°F. To embrace the future of sleep and get $150 off your new mattress, go to eightsleep.com/patrick or use code "Patrick."
Founder's Field Guide is a property of Colossus, Inc. For more episodes of Founder's Field Guide, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
[00:02:44] - [First question] - How she first found her interest in business
[00:04:09] - Early days exploring business for the first time
[00:07:09] - Lessons learned from USV that have been applied to Vanta
[00:07:42] - The next stage of her learning journey after USV
[00:09:20] - Making a massive pivot in life and teaching herself to code
[00:10:53] - The four-year road that lead to building Vanta
[00:12:39] - First encounters with the software security problem space
[00:15:21] - Origins of SOC 2, what it means, and what it does
[00:17:11] - What software security means writ large
[00:19:32] - Who demands a SOC 2 and why
[00:20:57] - How Vanta improved a broken process and productized it
[00:23:33] - What V1 of Vanta looked like
[00:26:30] - Understanding the value of using spreadsheets first
[00:27:48] - From static to streaming and finding product-market fit
[00:29:22] - Monitoring whether or not a company is SOC 2 compliant in real-time
[00:32:19] - Auditors that still exist in the compliance space today
[00:33:39] - The pace of onboarding new clients onto the Vanta software
[00:34:53] - Figuring out a price point for the service Vanta offers
[00:37:06] - Developing the business model and scaling it
[00:39:18] - Lessons learned and innovations created about effective sales organization
[00:41:52] - Hardest hills to climb in building Vanta
[00:43:17] - Building competitive advantage into the framework of the business
[00:46:07] - Overview of the frontier of software security
[00:47:43] - General thoughts on competitive advantage as a whole
[00:49:43] - Quality control of decision making in Vanta
[00:50:40] - Downstream effects of structural and organizational business design
[00:52:30] - Hard lessons learned going from being academic to pragmatic
[00:53:36] - What the future could look like for Vanta based on its current trajectory
[00:54:26] - What her information diet consists of lately
[00:55:27] - Areas she’s interested in currently but learning more than being proficient
[00:56:59] - Ways in which she’s become a better leader
[00:57:46] - Unique factors about what makes Vanta tick
[00:58:45] - Negative advice to would-be founders out there
[01:00:22] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for her
[01:02:44] - Major insights learned from living in Rwanda, Thailand, and Uganda