I was recently asked to speak to a group of students from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development (IEED) visiting the states from Lancaster University in the UK.
I wrestled with what to speak about specifically, as there are so many broad brush topics I could opine on for the crowd: Cloud Adoption, E-Commerce, SaaS Business Model, Globalization, Mobile, Interconnected Devices, Intro to DNS… I could even have reverted to the good old “Who is Dyn and why does Internet Performance matter?”
But, after learning more about the group, the topic became obvious.
International Founder Admiration.
The students in the program are visiting the states as part of an initiative to encourage them to follow their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. Our VP, User Community and former CEO/Founder of UK-based Incutio, who Dyn acquired in 2012, is a former student of Lancaster and was an influential force behind their trip. This is not surprising given Andy’s entrepreneurial DNA and ride.
Outside of Dyn we also facilitated time with some early stage startups in the greater Boston area, a day at WPI where our CEO/co-founder started Dyn with three classmates, and also a visit with our friends and partners from digital experience company, Acquia.
I was thrilled to be asked to participate as a very involved player in the startup and entrepreneurial community—notably in the enterprise and business-to-business sector. Allowing these students the opportunity to meet with businesses and leaders at different stages of the scaling journey is just one of the many things Dyn attempts to spearhead in our give-back-and-pay-it-forward efforts.
My discussion about international founders (not born in the United States) premised around the common characteristics I see in this advanced breed of startup founder: work ethic, global view, ambition, appreciation, perseverance, loyalty… to name a select few traits. I don’t toss these descriptors around lightly. I have witnessed proof through action and outcomes, consistently.
I expanded on these character traits with unique anecdotal founder stories ranging from Mehdi Daoudi of web performance monitoring company, Catchpoint Systems, to Marcin Treder of design software service, UXPin, to Artur Bergman of next generation CDN, Fastly, to Ilya Semin of sales intelligence company, Datanyze, to Branko Cerny of mobile sales inbox provider, Immediately, to twin brothers Sergei & Vadim Revzin of sales management software company, Tascit, to David Coallier of application security management platform, Barricade. Lastly, but not least, the aforementioned Andy Piggott.
There are more shining examples, of course, but I had to limit my talk to 30 minutes WITH Q&A. These founders’ paths weren’t simple. Getting a VISA to work in America is not exactly easy, but that is an entirely different post altogether.
I expanded upon these founders and their aspirational dreams born in Morocco, Poland, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Belarus, Ireland & the UK. I discussed their decisions or the decisions of their parents to come to the United States for school or work at the varied ages of 22, 27, 25, 24, 19, 9, 24 once and then back at 28 (shortly!), and 35-years-old.
Life stories and startup founding stories inspire me. It’s why Dyn supports startups of all beginnings with our robust suite of Internet Performance solutions—and assist in any way we can in their growth and success. It’s why I personally angel invest, advise, and sit on boards of these companies. There is something special about entrepreneurship that once you get a taste of it, you can’t ever shake it.
There is no better founder to support, back, collaborate with or bet on then an international founder. Hopefully we helped inspire a few more from the UK this week.