This Week in Enterprise Tech 527 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Louis Maresca (00:00:00):
On This Week in Enterprise Tech, we have Mr. Brian G and Mr. Curtis Franklin back on the show today. Now MailChimp has another breach and so does T-Mobile. It's the week of repeat breaches plus connected devices continue to struggle with security and the automotive industry definitely needs to focus here. We'll talk about some of the vulnerabilities. Plus the enterprise continues to see tremendous growth in VC backed firms. Hey, we have Acqua to Kae partner at VC firm Ridge Ventures. We're talk about some of the enterprise ventures that are out there and just where things are headed. You definitely should miss it. Twiton the set
Podcasts you love from people you trust. This is twit.
Louis Maresca (00:00:48):
This is twt this week in Enterprise Tech. Episode 527 recorded January 20, 2023. Better fonts in the breach letters. This episode of this week in Enterprise Tech is brought to you by Thanks Canary. Detect attackers on your network while avoiding irritating false alarms. Get the alerts that matter for 10% off on a 60 day money back guarantee. You go to Canary, do tools slash twit and enter, enter the code twit and the hat I hear by US Box and by Cisco. Orchestrate by the experts at C P W. When you need to get more outta your technology. Cisco makes hybrid work possible. CDW makes it powerful. Learn more at cdw.com/cisco and by Melissa, over 10,000 clients worldwide and industries like retail education, healthcare, insurance, finance and government. Rely on Melissa for full spectrum data quality and ID verification software. Make sure your customer contact data is up to date. Get started today with 1000 records clean for free. Melissa.Com/Twi.
Welcome to twit this week at Enterprise sec. The show that is dedicated to you, the enterprise professional, the IT pro in that geek who just wants to know how this world's connected. I'm your host, Lewis Maresca, your guide through this big world of the enterprise. I say we have quite a big packed show today, but we can't guide you by myself. I need to bring in the professional, sorry, the veryo. Mr. K Franklin. He's senior analyst at Im d and he's the man who has the pulse of the enterprise. Welcome back, Curtis. How's your week? What, what's been keeping you busy,
Curtis Franklin (00:02:26):
Lou? It's been a busy week. Lots going on in the world of cybersecurity. So lots for me to analyze, write about, talk about. It's just keeping me busy and I can't tell you how happy I am to finally reach the end of the week. And twt looking forward to a great hour here with the twt Riot.
Louis Maresca (00:02:49):
I agree. It's always great to end the week with the TWT Riot. Well, we also have to welcome back as part of that TWiT ride, also our other co-host, Mr. Bryan. He's net architect at skyfire Network expert and all around Tech Geek cheaper. What kind of toys have you been playing with this week?
Brian Chee (00:03:07):
Actually, I've been wondering what other toys can I dream up and invent <laugh>? I've actually rediscovered the Tom Swift book series and didn't realize that it actually goes back into the early 19 hundreds. The very first Tom Swift book in the series that I could find talks about this new thing called a Motorcycle <laugh>. It's kind of interesting to see, you know, I was, I was, shall we say, a little disturbed at some of the language and you know what they called people of color. And then I had to stop and think that this was the time period, very early 19 hundreds. And it was actually an eye-opener and that I've kind of skipped ahead and Tom Swift, I credit with being the reason why I am so interested in tinkering, cuz I, I hope someday that maybe I can go and invent something that would do Tom Swift. Proud
Louis Maresca (00:04:12):
Indeed. Indeed. Well thank you cheaper for being here. Well, I'd say we should probably get started cuz it's been a quite the busy week in the enterprise Connected devices is the new norm today in enter today's enterprise. However, some industries are quite behind in some things. In fact, the automotive industry just might need to focus more on security. We will get into just where they might actually be vulnerable there. Plus the enterprise continues to have tremendous growth by VC backed firms. Now if you're wondering about some of the trends of technology we're seeing there, plus maybe just wondering how founders struggle in some ways today. We have a taca, she's partner in ENT at enterprise VC firm Ridge Ventures. And we're gonna talk about enterprise ventures technology and the unique world of venture capital. So definitely stick around, lots of exciting stuff to talk about, but we have lots of exciting news to talk about as well.
So let's go ahead jump into this week's news blips that wouldn't be an enterprise week without a leak. Now it seems that this year is starting out strong with the number of data breaches on the rise. Unfortunately data breaches and unfortunately layoffs mean the same. The theme of the 2023 so far. Now the year can only get better I Idaho. Well, if you use Cloud mail services for yourself on your or on your business, you might wanna check if it's a MailChimp. That's right. According to End Gadget, the Intuit owned company you may know also know as QuickBooks and TurboTax as well, who was hit again by another data breach in the last six months. Now the worst part is that it seems that the hack was almost identical to the previous one. Okay, so let's talk details here. Mailchimps security team detected that their network was breached on January 11th.
Then found out there there was a hacker actually using their internal tools that their customers support and account Adam admins used. Now the familiar part of this breach was how the attacker was able to breach the network. Now, MailChimp said the hacker targeted employees and contractors with a social engineering attack in which someone used manipulation techniques by phone or email or text to get passwords. And the hacker then used those Compromise Employee passwords to can access to data on 133 MailChimp accounts. Now one of the largest was the e-commerce giant WooCommerce. Now WooCommerce said it was notified by MailChimp that the breach may have exposed the names, the store web addresses and email addresses of its customers. Though it said no customer passwords or even other sensitive data was taken. Now the previous hack for MailChimp was back in April where they used social engineering to also compromise credentials for customer service staff exposing about 214 accounts.
Now, most of the targets there were crypto and finance related accounts. In fact, cloud Giant Digital Ocean confirmed that its account was compromised in the incident and really criticized MailChimps for handling the breach. Well share. Shortly after that their CISO of the company of MailChimp actually left the company. And the interesting part of this is, if you look at the past of CISO's resume about what they did for MailChimp, they claim to have optimized and developed security gaps and compliance. I don't know about you, but when you're hacked the same way twice in just over six months, I don't think the programs are working that well. What do you think?
Curtis Franklin (00:07:18):
Well, when something is designated critical infrastructure, that means that extra care is gonna be taken with its protection right or wrong. New telemetry from security scorecard shows that more than three quarters of manufacturing organizations harbor unpatched high severity vulnerabilities in their systems. According to an article published on dark reading in 2022, security Scorecard found that some 76% of manufacturing organizations had unpatched CVEs located around their various IP addresses. It should then come as no surprise that nearly 40% of these non-matching organizations, which include metals, machinery, appliance, electrical equipment, and transportation manufacturing, suffered malware infections in 2022. Security Scorecard says many of these incidents involve ransomware where the threat actor usually in the form of a criminal group, sets out to make money through extortion. But financially motivated criminals aren't the only villains. Securities scorecard researchers have seen a rising number of attacks on critical infrastructure come from nation state actors in pursuit of various geopolitical objectives.
And security scorecard isn't the only firm raising the red flag in manufacturing teams at Dragos. And IBM's X-force overwhelmingly showed that the hottest OT target is the manufacturing sector and the main weapon attacking these organizations is now ransomware. Now the government has noticed all this activity. Cyber incident reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 requires critical infrastructure companies to report certain cyber incidents to DH S'S Cybersecurity and infras infrastructure Security agency. We typically know them as c S a, other agencies such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Treasury Department are also in various stages of rulemaking for entities under their regulatory jurisdiction. And if you think that all this activity is aimed at organizations other than yours, keep in mind that that 2022 ACT defines critical infrastructure very broadly if you actually owe due business in the US yards are very good that your part of the critical infrastructure covered by the act.
Brian Chee (00:09:55):
So big. Thank you to the folks at Dark Reading for this particular article. And it's gonna sound a little bit like piling on because you know it's another doom and gloom anyway. Dark Readings article talks about some new research from leading cybersecurity provider Hornet security, and they have found that 33% of companies are not providing any cybersecurity awareness training to users who work remotely. The study also revealed nearly three quarters, in this case, 74% of remote staff have access to critical data, which is creating more risk for companies than a new hybrid working world. Despite the current lack of training and employees feeling ill prepared, almost half 44% of respondents said their organization's plan to increase the percentage of employees that work remotely. Daniel Hoffman, the c e o of Hornet Security said the popularity of hybrid work and the associated risk mean that companies must prioritize training and education to make remote working safe.
While traditional methods of controlling and security company data aren't as effective when employees are working in remote locations and greater responsibility falls on the individual. Well, companies must acknowledge the unique risk associated with remote work and activate relevant security management systems as well as empower employees to deal with a certain level of risk. Strongly recommend reading this article. Well, in reality, okay, this is my comment. There are some fairly good tools to solve this lack of training. One of our sponsors, a C L Learning has curriculum specifically for this issue as well as many, many others. So even if you don't have people specifically set up to do user education, you can delegate it up. I've had some experience with this in what, what I wasn't even allowed to step foot into the at and t cable landing station to work on the law Cable Observatory without first taking and passing a collection of online tutorials on topics like job site safety, job site security, physical safety and confidentiality policies of a shared environment. What it really takes is policy and determination not to become part of the sad statistics of organizations that have been hacked.
Louis Maresca (00:12:43):
Sticking with the theme of data breach repeats, we've had another big one reported this week. A Courtney and Gadget T-Mobile has admitted to another data breach by Hackers, and this time they stole 37 million postpaid and prepaid customers data. Now that's, you know, a lot of data now on January 5th, T-Mobile uncovered that a bad actor had been siphoning data outta their system since November 25th. Now talking about discovering a data breach late almost a month and a half later. Now, how did they infiltrate the data? Well, by using a standard api, it to slowly trickle it out. I'll tell you one thing. Improperly securing APIs, you know, gives API as a bad rap. I think bad rap. Now, while T-Mobile was able to contain the issue 24 hours after discovering the malicious activity activity here, the bad actors had access to his data long enough to have stolen people's names, billing addresses, emails, phone numbers, and birthdays.
Now, they were also able to obtain user's account numbers and information about their plans, such as the number of lines. Now it seems this particular breach might not go uninvestigated, though. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Communications Commission, FCC has opened an investigation into T-Mobile. Now, you may recall back in August of 2021, that 76.6 million of T-Mobile's customers were impacted by another data breach exposing their info, including their security, social security numbers and driver's license numbers. Now, almost a year later, the carrier agreed to pay 350 million to settle a consolidated class action lawsuit, and they pledged to spend 150 million to update its data security technologies. I don't know about you, but Elizabeth companies not taking security seriously enough even after being taught a lesson. Now, where did the 150 million go that are fonts and the breach letters? I don't know that the truth is you really only are a as good as your weakest link.
And, and that also includes APIs, folks, MO folks, that does it for the blips. Next up the bites, but before we get to the bites, we do have to thank a really great sponsor of this weekend Enterprise Tech, and that's Thanks Canary. Now most companies discover that they've been breached way too late. We just heard of one and things. Canary fixes this in just under three minutes of setup. Real easy setup with no ongoing overhead and nearly zero false positives. You can detect attackers before they actually dig into things. Now it's no wonder why things Canaries Hardware, their VM and cloud-based can areas are deployed and loved on all seven continents. Prowling attackers look for juicy content on their target networks. They brow active directory, you know, they look for file servers and explore file shares looking for documents. They try default passwords against network devices and you know, even web servers and they scan for open services across the network.
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And we thank thanks Canary for their support of this week in enterprise Tech. Well, folks, it's time for the bites. Now, we've talked a lot about connected devices, in fact, including ones that depend on the most important things in our systems and they could be potentially hacked, right? Well, if you're going to build a connected device into your systems, you have to make sure it's done responsibly. Now, in fact, recently I was contacted by the National Grid. It's actually my power company in the area, and they wanted to put an Android driven meter on my house. Now I said, hell no, because who's gonna take care of that device? Who's gonna keep it up to date A power company? So I was a little worried about that. Well, according to this, our test, our technical article, security round Connected automobiles continues to also be a concern.
We know that for sure, it's been almost 10 years since I've seen automobiles starting to get features that allowed them to provide internet access or even remote and connected devices and services for them. Now, sure, they provide convenient features like remote starting for you or remote diagnostics and alerts on the health and performance of the vehicle vehicle and additional safety features. But the question is, how secure are these systems? Well, there have been several security researchers out there that are trying to find out. In fact, Sam Curry tested several automakers and telematics systems and dis and actually discovered a barrage of security holes in these things and the, and lots of vulnerabilities on around every corner here. Now, in fact, what he was able to discover was that automotive companies actually copy themselves, different companies copy each other, and when in in fact exposing the same or if not similar vulnerabilities.
Now, if an attacker can find the vulnerabilities in the a p i endpoints of one vehicle telematic system, they can use that to cause similar damage on other vehicles and other remote actions. Our researchers found extensive problems in 16. That's right, 16 OEM telematic services like LoJack, a new digital license plates, and even serious XM radio. Okay, so let's take a moment, just talk about the breakdown of the remote different areas of these issues. Now they right here on in the article, you can see there, they first start with remote services. First and foremost, do you see nothing more than a vehicle or a VIN number? Hackers can, were able to actually access the remote services for cars like Acura Honda, Infiniti, Kia Nissan, including low Kenny and unlocking the cars starting or stopping the engines and honking the horns. It was also possible to take over a user's account with the vin and in the Kia's case, the researchers could even access live parking cameras on the vehicle.
Genesis and Hyundai vehicles were similarly exploitable with the owner's email address instead of a vin. And in fact, Porsche vehicles were susceptible to telematics vulnerability that allowed researchers actually locate the vehicle and send it commands. Scary, isn't it? There's also issues with telematic systems themselves. Like for instance, the LoJack service provided by the ESP spion parent company had numerous vulnerabilities. In fact, they gave hacker's administrator access to a company-wide administrative panel. They give ability to send arbitrary commands to about 15.5 million vehicles. They can unlock start the engine, disabled, the starter, a whole bunch of different things. In fact, even read the devices location. These are scary things. Now there's the next level here, which is of course, the corporate backends where they store all the data. In fact, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Rolls Royce Royce were hacked via single sign-on vulnerabilities that allowed access to corporate networks and employee customer data.
In fact, Ford's telematics API was susceptible to attack that also revealed customer p i i, while insecure direct object references allowed the hacks to find GI i I for Ferrari, Jaguar, land Rover and Toyota. So, you know, as you can see, <laugh>, there's need, there's some work to be done here, right? In fact, if I haven't convinced you already, you might wanna spend some time actually thinking and, and learning just about what your car does and what kind of security systems they have. Now, I do wanna bring my co-host back in because there's a lot going on here. In fact, there's things like the concept of software defined vehicles. There's the concept of the, the vehicle, the vehicle features that are our vehicle to everything, features that are coming out, very sophisticated systems. What do you guys think is, is this just, are they already at tech debt here? Like they're in a hole and they need to just like pause and stop shipping things and start securing things? Or is, or, or am I just like talking about the bad and there's really a lot more good?
Brian Chee (00:22:10):
I'm gonna jump in right here. The there was a, we actually covered an article I think as a bite a couple years back. And that's when Apple was starting to talk about why are, why are car companies reinventing the wheel? Apple would very much like in fact actually Google also for Android Auto would like the car manufacturers to just put a framework in the car and have all the infotainment stuff exported to either Apple or Android. Now, I, I will point out, car manufacturers are not in the business of creating infotainment systems. And in order to cross over and use the in 3g, 4g lte, whatever cellular interface, that is one of the points of vulnerabilities. And in the case of the infamous Jeep attack Jeep made some really bad choices. It was actually talked in length at a black hat and DEFCON conference a couple years back on how they had a choice of not allowing cross modem proliferation of data.
So if you were in one Jeep and you wanted to go and get into another Jeep, you would just go in, you know, there it was an exposed network, whereas one of the configuration items for any custom apn is turning that on or off. That was one of the big things that at and t hit me when I built custom ATMs APNs for science. Anyway. So that's one of the things. I also know a few people that are relatively high up in Lear Siegler Corporation and they build infotainment systems and they've seen, okay, at the, at the time they seem to be more interested in standalone systems. So there are options. So these folks did bring up, you know, one thing, now I am, I don't know anything really about our friends at Tesla and their autonomous driving, but I do really enjoy having the lane following and adaptive cruise control on my Subaru route back. And no, I'm not gonna share my VIN number, but they're really good features and I'm truly hoping that maybe if auto manufacturers aren't willing to go and secure their systems, then maybe they're might be better for them to outsource it. You know, let someone else make some money on it so that consumers have a more of a choice. I dunno if it's a good solution, but it's a solution. Okay, I'm done. <Laugh>.
Louis Maresca (00:25:20):
I hear. What do you think, Curtis? Is it are we too far gone here or we there's a way to fix it?
Curtis Franklin (00:25:27):
Well, it, it's entirely possible that we're too far gone. I remember going to a c e S probably eight years ago when I met with engineers from both General Motors and Ford, and both of them said that at that time, more than half the value in an automobile was wrapped up in the software. You know, our, the, the idea of a software defined vehicle from an economic standpoint is already there and has been there for a while. I think that where we're having the issue is where consumer expectations are running into the reality of meeting those expectations. Because let's face it, as prices have gone up and they have gone way up in the past 10 to 15 years, customers have demanded more features, more luxury, and in some cases more safety. And let, let's not kid ourselves, there are a number of these software enabled features that do provide additional safety, but they demand those and the manufacturers are having a great deal of trouble and, and would have a great deal of trouble dialing those back.
I think it's fascinating that Ford in its maverick small pickup has cut way back on a lot of those and delivered a, a vehicle with a theoretical base price in the lower 20 thousands. For most vehicles though, that safety is gonna be there and they have to worry about things like the weight of the wiring harness and the overall repairability of the vehicle, not by shadetree mechanics. Those days are long passed, but even by the A S M E certified repair folks, it's, it's a incredibly complicated envelope in which to do a lot of different things. And I fear that our software is with us, what we really need to demand is a better way of making updates and that the automobile embedded software vendors conform to the same sort of update ability and patch ability that we get in mainstream IT software.
Louis Maresca (00:28:21):
You bring up a good point because I think the, like you said, the software defined vehicles been around for a while, but do you feel like the fact that we are moving more and more into the EV world, whether, like you said, it's more of a more prominent to define the architecture of a vehicle via the software, which means that everything needs to be controlled, maintained and updated via software, that there needs to be some standards developed in order to make sure that this is more secured. Because I think if you're gonna be moving to platforms like these in the future, and now you're saying instead of maybe 60% of the vehicle being you know, less mechanical or more mechanical than it was before, you know, does that mean that, you know, we're gonna have to have some more safety systems around that? I I feel like Tesla being one of those where obviously telematic systems, telemetry ev everything, even you know, even how the fuel system you know, the the regulators for all the power systems are regulated all by remote software. And I think that this could be you know, it sounds like there needs to be some more regulation around this to make sure that they're, these companies are held accountable for security. What do you think, Curtis?
Curtis Franklin (00:29:36):
Well let, let's first get past one of the assumptions in something that just said, sure. There is nothing inherent in an electrical power train that requires greater electronic capability in the overall platform. That's a choice that the manufacturers were making, again, largely to justify the current greater cost of the electric powered vehicles. I was reading an interesting article today on a company in, I believe it's India, that is starting to manufacture an electric powered vehicle that has the same level of sophistication as say, a 1984 Land Rover. You know, it, it's, it's not highly technically sophisticated. It just happens to have an electrical power train. And it's possible that we will see some of that. Again, the, the question of what the North American, European predominant Asian automotive markets will bear is, is something that I don't have any particular insight in. But we do need to understand that these very sophisticated electronic systems that do things like, you know, at the extreme autonomous vehicles and even below that highly sophisticated entertainment navigation safety system, that's a choice made by the manufacturers. Where those do have an impact on safety. I think we do need our Department of transportation nhtsa, you know, the, the same companies are the same organizations that set standards for things like lighting around the vehicle and the functioning of brakes and, and all that sort of stuff to step in and make sure that the electrical systems are as reliable and as secure as the mechanical systems.
Louis Maresca (00:31:58):
I agree that they're definitely making choices. Let's just hope they tend to make some choices for better security. We'll see Future. Thanks guys. Well folks, next up we have the guests. But before we get to the guest, we do have like a really great sponsor of This Week in Enterprise Tech and that's Cisco orchestrated by the experts at C D W, the helpful people at C D W understand that hybrid work continues to evolve and that your organization must evolve with it to succeed with so many options to collaborate remotely, you need a strong and consistent network to empower your workforce and keep them together. Now, consider a Cisco hybrid work solution designed and managed by C D W experts to deliver the same quality network experience to all of your offices. Even the satellite ones connecting your team from pretty much anywhere. The Cisco networking keeps things flowing smoothly and securely with embedded security compliance and multifactor authentication that protects collaboration among your spread out team.
Now with realtime visibility into distributed application security, user and service performance, you get a better line of sight. The how your network is operating and how better to grow your organization. And Cisco networking levels, the playing field, providing access to flexible, high-end collaborative experiences that create an inclusive work environment. When you need to get more out of your technology, Cisco makes hybrid work possible. CDW makes it powerful. Learn more at cdw.com/cisco and we thank CDW for the sport of this weekend Enterprise tech. Well folks, it's my favorite part of the show. We actually get to bring a guest to drop some knowledge on our TWiET riot. And today we have Akriti Dokania. She is partner at enterprise VC firm Rich Ventures, and we're gonna talk a lot about venture capitalism. Welcome to the show Akriti.
Akriti Dokania (00:33:49):
Thank you. Thank you Lou. Lovely to be here.
Louis Maresca (00:33:53):
Absolutely. So we're, we're excited cuz you've had quite the journey. Now our, our audience is all over the different experience levels and they love to hear people's journeys through tech. Can you take us through your journey through tech and where it brought you to Ridge Ventures?
Akriti Dokania (00:34:08):
Yeah, absolutely. So my journey started in India. I'm Indian, grew up there and 15 years ago I came to the US to do computer science engineering. So I'm an actually an engineering background did computer science and then joined your company, Microsoft. So I stayed there for about four plus years, was a product manager there in security, and then user experience teams. By the end of it I took care of the product and deleting Internet Explorer and building Microsoft Edge. Coming out of the da coming out of that I had the entrepreneur bug and started a company. So I ran that company for a couple of years didn't go crazy well, but found myself in London. And there's, there's another story of Hubba. I decided to move to London and to the east side of the world, but that got me to London, did my M B A there. And coming out of that, I've been an enterprise investor for the last five years. So I've been investing in B2B enterprise businesses for the last five years across Europe, some in India and in the us.
Louis Maresca (00:35:17):
Fantastic. I like how you put that my company. Yeah, I wish, I wish I was, that was my company, but, but yeah, I did know what you were saying. So so I, I think the big thing about venture capitalism is it seems to be almost a black box for people. People don't really understand how a you know, a, a team of people who are developing a product get venture capitalism. How, how, how do they get, how do they get help from a vc? How do they get started? What's the process? Can you maybe just take us through the, the bare bones approach here of like, if I have an idea and, and how do I pitch it? How do I get started with a vc?
Akriti Dokania (00:35:53):
Yeah, absolutely. So I would say talking to a VC or getting access to a VC is just like getting access to a customer. And that's how founders and entrepreneurship think about it as to what would you do to get access to a customer. There are various ways, right? There is proper s d r reaching out, cold speak going on LinkedIn, finding the venture capital that makes sense for you reading all these articles, getting to know about venture. So that's one way, obviously the cold outreach. Two, there are lots and lots of incubators and angel syndicates across the market that have cropped up across the world. Actually at this point. Angel List is a very famous syndicate. They have multiple syndicates. One white Combinator, Techstars, these are all incubators that you can apply to directly and be chosen to get into. So that's another way to get into the industry and get to be known as a startup and then start your fundraising journey.
Third I would say is also tapping into your network, like knowing your third degree, fourth degree, fifth degree connection, who can make and who could get you introduced to someone. Warm introductions do go a long way. And hopefully over, over the years, the crowd in the venture capital industry is changing enough to diversify the network quite a bit. Surely 10 years ago that was not the case when I decided to get into this and it's changed quite a lot now. So I completely acknowledge that. So these are few trips tricks and tips but as in men more come, I will let you know.
Louis Maresca (00:37:29):
So the interesting thing, I've actually had some experience with Techstars, cause the Seattle area, and one I think I noticed is you know, they are fairly selective with some of the organizations that get in there, but these types of like you said, incubators, they usually raise the eyebrows. Vcs tend to review these what's in these incubators quite often. Do you feel like that is probably the best approach to kind of get closer to a VC to get their attention and to be able to pitch things? Or do you feel like there are other approaches that might be kinda like, maybe rank them, I guess you could say?
Akriti Dokania (00:38:06):
Yeah, so I don't think one way is the answer, to be very honest with you. It is pretty I really believe that if you can get access to vc, that means I know that you have the hustle to sell anything. Building a company is really hard, like extremely hard yards. And getting funding is probably like a big part of that because that determines like your success of failure over time. So I think for me, the hustle is the, is the piece that you really need to have and you need to throw lots and lots of things on the wall and see what sticks. So I wouldn't stack rank them, but if I had to say incubators and angels, syndicates are definitely great ways to get in, get into the foot of the door. You have to create a, a network of people around you. You can't be in isolation. A startup, a company cannot be built in isolation. So recruit people who are really smart, compliment you and they open up networks for you that can help you enter into fundraising markets. So there are lots and lots of ticks and tricks and tips that you can do to improve your network and go find those people and get latched onto them.
Louis Maresca (00:39:14):
Now, Ridge Ventures, they have quite the diverse portfolio they have. I think there was, I saw Fastly uplift Discord, so there's, you know, kind of organizations all over the industry. What from an enterprise seems like you focus more on enterprise. Could you maybe ta talk us through from a, from a venture capital perspective, what are you seeing some of the trends in the enterprise space?
Akriti Dokania (00:39:36):
Yeah so I think currently you brought up the first thing that is definitely on top of my mind as API security. That is a big trend. We've been, I actually did a thesis on it last year and I've been spending a lot of time with a bunch of API security companies and looking to invest in them this quarter, hopefully the crossing fingers definitely met T-Mobile's
Louis Maresca (00:39:59):
In the, in the market for that. So
Akriti Dokania (00:40:01):
<Laugh>, they definitely interrupt you. Keep going. They're definitely talking to a company that I just met. So there you go. T-Mobile, well done trying to find a solution to your problems. But so API security, so just to take a step back from an enterprise perspective, I think we're looking into five different trends as rich. One is the data infrastructure layer. We do think that the data infrastructure layer is gonna have a change. There's a lot of data that's been collected over the last 10 years. Something's gonna have to happen to that data now somebody's gonna be using it smartly. Two, we are excited about the API ecosystem, like I said, the API security, API governance player. Third, we are very getting more and more excited about supply chain and e-commerce infrastructure. So imagine what happens to the post Shopify world. There's so many, so many e-commerce brands.
What is happening to their returns, to their logistics? How are they handling supply chain? Fourth, we are getting excited about you must have heard all these large language models have become really, really big and they've become really strong with chat G P T and all of that stuff coming through. So they've really advanced how can we use that in business operations in the financial world, in the sales stack, in the mc marketing stack. So we are looking at all of that stuff. So these are few that we are getting excited about, but we are always eyes and ears open into new enterprise tech solutions that are coming.
Louis Maresca (00:41:28):
So you, you touched on a little bit, we, we talked about this last week chat, G B T from open AI and how just potentially market pivoting this could be how it could really impact the market and the fact that, you know, companies like Google, there, there weren't a little bit about it. Are you seeing any specific ventures? Maybe you can give us some specifics that have been pitching recently or maybe something that you've kind of seen kind of grow up organically here that are using this type technology in the enterprise space.
Akriti Dokania (00:41:57):
Yeah, a couple of examples probably would be customer support. So the accuracy of customer support has become interesting because now chat, G p t has been able to go scour your entire website. All the brain dump that's available, or the tribal knowledge that's available in your customer support agents can be captured now because they can capture all of that information and now they can bring it back. So that has become automated too. We are seeing a very interesting use case in the testing automation software stack. So as you can imagine, more and more tests need to be written as and when software gets developed, but tests need to know what the historical testing environment was already. So we are seeing a lot of that and I'm excited about that space. So these two probably to begin with.
Louis Maresca (00:42:44):
Perfect. I I think one thing that I, I'm always curious about when it comes to you know, these types of, you know, when a, when a, when a founder has finally got the eye of a venture capitalist and they develop a relationship and how, how much of involvement does a VC have normally in the day-to-day or the management structure or, or the structure of the product and the direction it goes? Because a lot of times you hear, you tend to hear stories from different ends of the spectrum. And I'm always curious every time I I run into somebody who's a partner in, in, in, in a firm or whatever, I like to ask this question cuz I like to get their point of view on, on how they view when, once they start working with a com company, company or organization.
Akriti Dokania (00:43:29):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Right. So I have an operational background. I, I've been an operator for large parts of my life before I became an investor, so I probably have a different take on it or maybe a similar take. I don't know. The one thing that I always say is that's the CEO's companies, the founder's company, it's not my company. I am gonna be their biggest cheerleader, their biggest you know, advisor, their biggest like crying shoulder, their biggest you know, question person who's gonna ask lots of questions. But that's what I'm gonna be. So I think that that's the hat. I wear different hats, but these are the hats that I wear. I think from a day-to-day perspective, I probably don't, I, I don't personally or Rich doesn't personally get involved day-to-day, but we are available whenever needed. So we do take a boat seat.
So we tend to take both seats and that means that we do have regular check-ins, quarterly or monthly check-ins with the founder to know what the progress is of the company. We are available at any time. Like I'm on WhatsApp conversations with my founder, so available anytime that they need me, but they're more around strategic advice and connections and network that we can open up to them and probably more development and customer introductions and partners that we have access to that we can make introductions to. I think that helps them unlock and understand what they need to build. The last piece I think we do or at least I help them with, is given my product background, I help them with product thinking as to what could the first product look like and what does it mean to build an M v MVP or a prototype or the first product that actually launches. So I wouldn't say day-to-day, but I think that a regular check-ins enough to help them be the be be be their g two hands around them to be like if they fall or if they, if they need cheerleading, we're there.
Louis Maresca (00:45:19):
Got it. Well, we have lots more to talk about. I do wanna bring my co-host back in, but before we do, we do have to thank another great sponsor of This Week in Enterprise Tech and that's Melissa. Now Melissa's a leading provider of global data quality, identity verification and address management solutions and has acquired zip info.com a longtime provider of zip code data to Fortune 500 companies. So zip info dot com's, zip code databases and software developer kits aligning really strategically with Melissa's comprehensive products suite grounded in address verification, correction, and enhancement as the foundation for smart and effective business operations worldwide. Now, the zip info.com portfolio complements the Melissa family of tools and services with technology and capabilities that really strengthened their position as the address expert and a reputation they've owned for over nearly 40 years of continuous operation, serving diverse businesses globally.
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They are SOC two, HIPAA n GDPR compliance. So you know, your data is in its best hands. Make sure your customer contact data is up to date. Get started today with 1000 records clean for free at melissa.com/twit. That's melissa.com/twit and we thank Melissa for their support of this week in enterprise tech. Well folks, we've been talking with Akriti. She is a partner at enterprise VC firm Bridge Ventures. But I, I have lots more questions, but I wanna bring my coach back in cuz they have lots of questions too. I'm gonna throw it over you to, to you Brian first.
Brian Chee (00:48:06):
Well we, we, a lot of people when they start talking venture capital, it's a very US centric view of the world, but you have a much wider view. You've, you've spent some time in the UK and you've come from India. Is venture capital different around the world?
Akriti Dokania (00:48:28):
That's a great question. As an asset class, no. Right, we are still investing in mm-hmm <affirmative> tenure horizons. We are still investing in founders who wanna make big ambitious businesses, big ambitious ideas, and we want those bold ideas to come through. So as a asset class, I would say no, but from a risk appetite perspective, US has just seen more, has had more cycles. It has been around for 50 years, whereas in Europe and India, it's probably a decade or two decades old only. So in terms of the founder ambitions, they've seen us, has seen the Google, the Apple, the Microsoft that came out of the venture capital industry where at Facebook that has come out of the venture capital industry. Whereas Europe has just seen deep mind d trees, Spotify now. So I would say there's a little bit still to go, but with Europe and India, and I can only talk about those two because China is very different and Southeast Asia mm-hmm is very different and Africa and Mexico is very different.
So I wouldn't talk about those. But Europe and India given us spend time there, I think they are in their early days of what venture capital was here in two thousands. So they'll still have to see the ambition. They still have to see those results to feel even more risk first than risk averse. But mm-hmm <affirmative>, I think that is happening. It is a growth that is happening in India and Europe, which is very exciting. And America is at growth plus st stability because they've reached some stability and then still there's some growth. But India and Europe are still growing quite fast when it comes to venture capital.
Brian Chee (00:50:06):
Well, the industry certainly seems like it's changing, so I'm not saying venture capital is bad, but there has been two recent articles, one from institutional investor and their headline is Venture capital funds to Blame for a dismal decade, which is kind of slanted, but that's all right. And then the New Yorker is saying, is venture capitalism deforming capitalism? Well, one thing that I did learn when I was, especially when I was working for Fujitsu Limited in Japan, is Americans and the rest of the world tend to do planning differently. And I'm, so the question is, you know, how, how is, does venture capital deal with that? So in Japan, one of the things is they tend to do a decade or more in advance for their planning, whereas a lot of us companies are so worried about Wall Street that they live quarter to quarter and sometimes, well, I've seen a few cases where they've totally been caught flatfooted and end up having to make giant changes because they didn't lay out long-term plans. Is venture capital helping US companies and other companies realize that long-term planning is something that also has to be done?
Akriti Dokania (00:51:27):
That's a great question. I think there's a bit of a shift. So we have to understand the last 10 years have been a bull run from 2011 to now, we've only seen growth, growth, growth. There's not been a blip until like covid happened. There was a little bit of a blip. And then now that we are seeing that the markets are crashing and stuff like that. So when you're in such a bull run, you assume you are invincible <laugh>. And I think that's what happened with a lot of the companies, a lot of the investors and all of that stuff. And everybody wrote the wave really, really well. So I think a lot of the cash conservation conversations that you're talking about, a lot of long-term vision planning, a lot of product vision planning, all of that is happening and being taken check, like checks and balances are being realized now and people are doing that more and more.
And the rule of friendship capital, I think it's, it, it really depends on the board member, the person who joins the company. So I do think it's very individualistic. It's not like it's a and you'll have lots of people who do different, some people will not think about this. They're like, here we are, we are here to make money, we don't care. Just keep growing, keep growing, keep growing, tell me quote unquote just keep making revenue. And some people take a conservative way of like, hey, listen, let's actually sit down plan for years with venture capital you can't plan very much in advance for a startup because there's so many things that change. Market conditions change, customer appetite changes, the product changes because of demand changes. So you have to plan with 18 to 24 months in mind and then, or maybe longer plan for the platform, but you have to keep adapting as the market and the dynamics change. And thus maybe you see that in startups, people consistently pivot or think about new ways to capture customers over two year timeframe. That's what I've seen from my experience of planning.
Curtis Franklin (00:53:24):
Fantastic. Curtis, well one of the things that I, I wanted to ask about prior to the pandemic. When you talked to venture capitalist, it was very common to hear someone say that they looked at the team as much as the technology. That in one sense technology is easier than putting together a great team. My question is, did the pandemic change the dynamics of looking at the team or how you look at a team when you're trying to evaluate a company?
Akriti Dokania (00:54:09):
That's a great question. Curtises I think team, team team is everything for venture capital, like period. Like that's the first and foremost thing. And the second thing is market actually for me if there's a big market and there's a team, they'll figure out what technology and product they need to bring to that market. The team and market are the two factors, and what Covid did was help us or me adjust market dynamics quite a bit. I still was looking for similar kinds of team who are driven ambitious, who will not deter, not will keep hustling, will be a team player, will find the people that compliment them and find their weaknesses and hire for those weaknesses. So I look still look for those kinds of teams, but the market dynamic shifted with covid. So can you adjust to remote, can you adjust to like new ways of doing things? Because hey, now you can't sell by going into a dinner, you have to sell on Zoom. So things like that, if you can adapt and you can introduce the, like include the market dynamics to your company, that's what got me more and more excited about doing deals in starting covid.
Curtis Franklin (00:55:18):
Alright, very, very good. Well, you know, we're to stay on the Covid theme mm-hmm. <Affirmative> one of the things we saw in Covid was the great dispersal of the workforce to working from home offices, remote offices, all that. And now depending on who you talk to, either the world is remaining dispersed, it's going to hybrid, everybody's going back to the whatever is that is how a company locates its workforce. One of the considerations do you, that you have, do, do you see an inherent advantage to any of the models of where you house your workers?
Akriti Dokania (00:56:08):
So I think for me personally, I do believe that the executive team, the leadership team in the initial days has to be close enough to bring innovation and to build something special. And for that continuous how you do it is really dependent on individuals. Do you use mirror boards? Do you go on getaways to spend two weeks, three weeks that different companies are doing different things, but to me, the leadership team, the founders, they have to be very, very close, tightly knit to be building the innovation the product needs, the insights that you need for that particular market, or the inefficiencies you need to find in the market to build that product. You kind of need to have to be closed physically and virtually to be able to build those. So I think in the initial days of the product, I think that's important in my mind, as you grow and scale, I think the team can be distributed, but the management team still needs to be close enough to be coordinated and to be able to do more in-person stuff as well. So I think that way, that time hybrid is okay with the large workforce remote, but in the initial days, to me having more in-person physical closeness probably helps with the innovation and the water cooler conversations like we call it to come up with the, hey, what is actually what we are trying to solve for? And who's that customer.
Curtis Franklin (00:57:34):
Very good. Well, one last question and this one I'm gonna ask you to, to look forward a little bit without, you know, giving away precisely what you're looking at, are there broad areas either in markets or technologies where it excites you to think about what might be possible over the next five to 10 years? Are are there things that, that you are looking forward to being involved in? If only you can find the right sort of company to take you there?
Akriti Dokania (00:58:10):
I think I am definitely looking at folks to disrupt the, or take care or take charge of the API ecosystem that is o overly like it's absolutely opened up. Apis have been there for 10 years, but nobody knew that you could be talking to third party companies and you could be attacked by them or you could be talking to someone else and you didn't even know that your p i data is going to them just because you have so much API exposure. So I'm definitely very excited about what happens with the API ecosystem and how we take control in charge or how to CSO or CT o take charge of that. The second piece I'm very excited about is the data piece. You've collected so much data in the last 10 years, now what now have to use that data to make myself efficient?
How do I do that? And I think companies are really struggling with that. They're trying to figure out business solutions to like that data that is sitting in the warehouse and what to do with it. So I'm very excited about what tools come out with foot lit and how long do you store that data? Do you store it infinitely? Do you actually do not store it? It's costly, right? So I'm really excited about that. The third piece I'm excited about is the new languages that are coming. So people are becoming more and more tired of building backend, like coding should not take long now, people should be able to code without having to do computer science engineering. So what I'm really excited about making that happen I know I'm a developer and maybe that's my strength, but I do think that a lot that not that should be stable. Like it's like writing, it should be like writing over time. So I'm very excited about tools that'll enable that.
Louis Maresca (00:59:50):
Well, Akriti, it's amazing how time flies when you're having fun. Thank you so much for being here. We're running a little low on time, but I didn't wanna give you a chance to tell the folks at home where they can learn more about Ridge Ventures, maybe some of their focus areas, some of their investments.
Akriti Dokania (01:00:03):
Yeah. Thank you so much, Dean, for having me. But just to remind everybody, Ridge Ventures is an enterprise B2B fund. We invest in seed series A, so we write check sizes from 1 million to 7 million. We like to invest in the application layer, the infrastructure layer, the data layer. It's in the entire enterprise stack. Very much. You can find firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you do want to talk to me about your company, please reach out at acri, A K R I T email@example.com.
Louis Maresca (01:00:37):
Well, folks, you've done it. Again, use that set to another out the besting Enterprise Podcast in the universe. So definitely tune your podcaster two tw. I want to thank everyone who makes this show possible, especially to my co-hosts. Now start your the Veryo, Mr. Brian Chi Sheer, thank you so much for being here. What's going on for you in the coming weeks? So where can people find you?
Brian Chee (01:00:58):
I don't know. I'll just, I like tinkering. You know, it's really, really nice being retired and I get to do what I really want to do. And right now I'm kind of leaning towards blinky lights. Like blinky lights. So anyway, so I'm actually talking about some of the projects and things that I'm doing at, on Twitter. I'm still Twitter. I still haven't gone over to Mastodon. I have an account, I'm not seeing a lot on it, so I think I'm on the wrong server, maybe well one of these days. But on Twitter, I'm a D V N E T L A B and advanced Net Lab. And I'd like to hear from you. You're also welcome to use my Twitter my email address, sorry. Sheer spelled C H E E B E R firstname.lastname@example.org. You're also welcome to use tw twit.tv and that'll hit all the holes.
We'd love to hear. Show ideas. As I said in the pre-show, I'm, I try to do the bookings in threads. So this was the V Venture Capital thread because, you know, some of the people are that view us are looking at doing venture capital someday, and they are not necessarily just in the United States. We do have a very international audience. It is my belief that we still have a download viewer at McMurdo Sound Science Station in Antarctica. And once in a blue moon, I get questions and comments from folks in. I've got some from various parts of France, various parts of the uk. I've had some from Africa, and definitely, you know, various other places we like hearing from you. We want to hear your comments, we want to hear your show ideas. Help me out with the threads. You know, I try to book guests that fulfill threads. Doesn't always work, but I try. And I also try to make sure I also get a decent number of startups because they give us a really interesting, fresh view into what's happening in the enterprise world. We'd love to hear from you, but above everything, everybody stay safe.
Louis Maresca (01:03:30):
Thank you. Cheaper. Well, we also have to thank very Mr. Curtis Franken. Curtis, thank you so much for being here. What about you? What's coming up for you and the coming we, where can people find you?
Curtis Franklin (01:03:39):
Well, the standard writing and analyzing. I've got a piece that's gonna be coming out on dark reading within the next few days. I'll also be doing some stuff on LinkedIn trying to use that platform a little more. For our amio subscribers, we have a big piece of an analysis coming out on cybersecurity awareness training. And then I'm starting to do my research on risk quantification, which is a fascinating piece of, of technology and policy. So looking at that now, if you wanna keep up with me, I'm still on Twitter at KG four gwa. I'm also on Mastodon at KG four. Gwa sdf, that's sierra delta foxtrot.org. Can also keep up with me on LinkedIn or Facebook. One way or another, I would love to hear from you. Love hearing from the TWT Riot. And it's not too early to start thinking about it. I'm planning to be in San Francisco at the RSA Conference a little bit later on this year. So if you're planning to be in the city by the bay, let's plan to run into one another on the floor of Moscone.
Louis Maresca (01:05:01):
Thank you, Curtis. Thanks for being here again. Well, we also have to thank you as well. You're the person who drops in each and every week to get your enterprise. Goodness. We wanna make it easy for you to watch and listen and catch up on your enterprise. In IT News. Go to our show page right now. That's right, go right now. Tweet that tv slash TWiT that you'll find all the amazing back episodes, the show notes, the co-host information, guest information, and the links to the stories that you do during the show. But more importantly, next to those videos, you'll get those helpful. Subscribe and download link. Support the show by getting your audio version, your video version of your choice. Listen on any one of your devices or your podcast applications cause we're on all of them. So definitely subscribe and support the show.
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If you wanna know what I do do during my normal work week, definitely check out developers.microsoft.com/office. There. We post all the latest and greatest waging customize your office experience. Most recently, we just offer the office script platform. It's a great way to automate your Excel documents online to make them work cross platform and be able to actually automate them using Power Automate. So lots of fun stuff, so definitely check that out at developers.microsoft.com/office. I wanna thank everyone who makes this show possible, especially to Leo and Lisa. They continue to support this show and this weekend enterprise tech each and every weekend we couldn't do without them. So thank you for all their support over the years. I wanna also thank the staff and the engineers at twit and of course I wanna thank Mr. Brian Chi just one more time because he's not only our co-host, but he's also our tireless producer.
He does all the show bookings and the playings for the show. So thank you sheer again for all your support. And of course, before we sign out, I wanna thank our editor because they make us look good after the fact. They remove all my mistakes. So thank you very much. And of course, thank you to our TDD for today, the talented Mr. Aunt Pruitt. He does an amazing show called Hands-On Photography. Check that out if you haven't. So have it already because it, I learned something from it each and every week. My entire setup here is from Mr. Ann Pruitt, learning from him. So thank thank you. And for all that, what's, what's going on in your show this coming week?
Ant Pruitt (01:10:03):
Well, this week, my man, first off, thank you for the, the support and the plug. This week we're talking about some macro photography and how you can save a little bit of money by buying some inexpensive gear. Not those fancy lenses that cost thousands of dollars, but we got a couple pieces of gear that can really help you get into macro photography without breaking the bank. And shout out to Mr. Victor for his edit job on my show too, cuz that man, he just crushes it every week.
Louis Maresca (01:10:31):
<Laugh>. He does. I'm kind of sad that that, that we don't get Mr. Victor that often anymore. So then thank you Sha thank you so much. And, and of course just speaking of cheaper devices, that might actually be good because my wife might be happy if I start biting buying cheaper stuff for my camera.
Ant Pruitt (01:10:46):
I know to Phil have
Louis Maresca (01:10:47):
Watch up. Yeah, <laugh>. Thanks aunt. Well, until next time, I'm Lewis Maka just reminding you, if you wanna know what's going on the enterprise, just keep quiet.
Mikah Sargent (01:10:57):
If you are looking for a midweek update on the weeks tech news, I gotta tell you, you gotta check out Tech News Weekly. See, it's all kind of built in there with the title. You get to learn about the news in tech that matters. Every Thursday, Jason Howell and I talk to the people making and breaking the tech news, get their insights and their interesting stories. It's a great show to check out TWIT TV slash tnw.