Spotlight on the CyRise teams: The Detexian Story

Persistence pays off

Tan Huynh is the Cofounder and CEO of Detexian. Growing up in post-war Vietnam, his tenacity and talent drove him to excel academically and in corporate life. After being selected for a university scholarship in the UK, Tan was determined to stay abroad. It was the heyday of management consultancy and investment banking, and London was ripe with opportunity. He went with the popular choice and took up a job in investment banking. ‘Investment banking ended up being the most productive seven years of my life. I was taught how to contribute from day one. I was working and living with young and hungry bankers, who wanted to work really hard and play really hard. After years of doing that it just wasn’t fun anymore. I met my partner and it was clear there was a lot more than just work to life’.

Building something to own

Inspired by the CEO of the private equity group, Tan left to create something of his own. ‘I left at the age of 36 because I wanted to answer to myself and to create a business for myself. Can I also create something from scratch? Can I do something more interesting than traditional finance?’

Tan Huynh, Cofounder and CEO of Detexian

Making it happen

The initial Detexian product was a host intrusion detection solution that takes five minutes to install. ‘We were able to recruit freemium customers pretty fast from all over the world and were thrilled to have got that much traction so early. For that we were able to attract venture backing. And also able to get into CyRise.’ They were on a mission to nail that product market fit. As it turns out, it’s not that easy. It was the battle of willingness to try vs willingness to buy. The pain point was not enough to convert into paying customers.

The pivot

Quality conversations through the CyRise program enabled the fine-tuning of a pivot idea. From industry advisors, CISOs, to CEOs, there was clear feedback to shift the focus. And thus, Detexian’s message moved to providing security posture uplift, narrowing in on compliance needs.

Compliance and posture

The ultimate goal is to become the one place where SaaS providers come for security compliance best practice.

‘Compliance is not a sexy word, but compliance is important in supply chain context. Non-compliance of a third party vendor infects the whole supply chain.’

Tan credits his experience in investment banking for instilling a care for security compliance. ‘Confidential information is everything. It was great training; ‘lock down’ is the word we used. I was used to operating in that world, but once I ventured outside I saw that security is really lax. In the banking world if people accidentally send files to the wrong recipient the consequence was dismissal. The same can’t be said for the outside world.’

The Detexian team at CyRise Demo Day, Melbourne

Leading the drive

As CEO, Tan is authentic with his team. ‘I’ve learned how to communicate better every day and learnt how to motivate and involve people along the way. At our stage each and every one of us has to focus on our strengths.

Tan Huynh, Cofounder and CEO of Detexian

Tenacity at the helm

Tan is driven by the vision of how much impact Detexian can make. The team energy is high, excited for the future. ‘We’re all willing to fight for what we think is the right approach. We always come out with a decision and a laugh. We hire for complementary skill set and culture, and as a result everyone is able to speak their minds, to challenge and be challenged.’

‘I love to be right. But, I also love to be told I’m wrong and why. The worst thing for a young CEO is to do things that are wrong, and have no one to point them out. I get challenged every week. It makes me do better.’

Maybe that inner drive, that persistence, was born in Tan. Maybe it’s something he generated in order to create opportunity for himself. In any case, it’s not only enabled him to navigate such an interesting career, but helped him flourish as a sharp-minded professional, an adventurous global citizen, and a gutsy leader.

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