As a seed stage startup, events are hard. Giant conventions are even harder. But we didn’t let that deter us from mustering half of our small-but-mighty team to make the pilgrimage to San Francisco for the 2023 RSA Conference where we set up camp for two and a half days in the Early Stage Expo.

“RSA” as it’s known, is more or less the annual sales kickoff for the cybersecurity industry. It’s a rite of passage for newcomers, and it’s where new products are launched, innovations are judged, and budgets are often blown.

While we didn’t enter any competitions, and we were certainly frugal with our investment, we did take the opportunity to present our domain threat intelligence API and research platform to the more than 300 people who stopped by our booth. That is indeed a rare opportunity for a startup, and it’s one that’s likely to be remembered as a pivotal moment in our startup’s future.

In the few moments we had where we weren’t busy meeting with security architects, product managers, and threat analysts, we jotted down a few observations that we’ll share here if for no other reason than to provide some insights for reference when we return to RSA in the future.

Observation #1 : Early Stage Expo Vibes

There was an energy and an intimacy to the small sliver of the conference called the “Early Stage Expo” that simply wasn’t to be found on the main show floor. Conversations felt more meaningful than any we’ve ever had as attendees at the conference. Discussions dove deeper into our origin story which subsequently brought us closer to our prospects.

This could explain why we noticed various larger companies with large investments in the Early Stage Expo. While these were hardly “early stage” companies by any stretch of the imagination, it makes sense why they wanted to be there. That’s where the magic happens. For us, we’ll also try to be “early stage” forever.

Observation #2 :  AI Resurgence

Artificial intelligence is having a moment, but not the same moment it’s been having for the last year. We founded our company on the strength of our co-founders’ expertise in machine learning and artificial intelligence to deliver a security product that is measurably better than the legacy players in IP reputation and threat intelligence. This is the current state of the art in cybersecurity: using technology to identify and remediate machine-borne risks at scale.

The talk around AI at RSA this year, however, is about so-called “generative” AI. To the extent that this is not just consumer-grade marketing hype spilling over into enterprise software (spoiler alert: this happens–a lot), generative AI in cybersecurity is being used to augment human capabilities by chaining together and executing steps in a process that would otherwise be impossible or grossly inefficient, to generate new, tangible outcomes. We are still in the early innings of generative AI in cybersecurity, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on whether it’s hope or hype. Nevertheless, it’s all the rage right now.

Observation #3 : threatYeti Hits Different

threatYeti is a hit. We launched threatYeti, our domain research platform, exactly one month before RSA, and we are delighted by the groundswell of adoption we are seeing from the cyber threat intelligence community. Built on our real-time threat verdict API, threatYeti provided us at the conference with an all-important visualization of the domain and IP threat verdicts we license to leading security vendors.

Early stage expo visitors were drawn to threatYeti’s comprehensive intelligence dashboard, and it didn’t hurt that we might have been wearing a friendly-looking yeti headpiece to soften our appearances to weary passersby. The result is we have a number of follow up meetings set with security leaders who are looking to empower their people with a powerful domain research platform that’s easy to use and helps them move faster to act against IP threats. That’s a huge win for any startup, and we’re happy to stack up another ‘W’ for our team who represented us.

Did we miss you at RSA?

If you were at RSA and we didn’t get a chance to connect or give you a demo, that’s OK! Our aforementioned small-but-mighty team is back in our respective home offices, somewhat recovered, and ready to roll out an API or threatYeti demo just for you. Send us a note and we’ll get back to you right away.