During the COVID-19 crisis, entrepreneurs found it challenging to raise money and grow their companies. However, Cotter graduated from the prestigious Y Combinator's Winter 2020 batch and, one year into the pandemic, has emerged as a standout startup that raised funding and significantly increased revenue. Let's examine how Anthony Christian and his co-founders weathered through, turning Cotter into a success.
Steve Jobs once said "You can't connect the dots looking forward; [only looking backward]. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future."
Anthony and his co-founders lived by Jobs' words. Ever since they stepped foot in the US, the team worked on projects together. Initially, as international students, they had no connection to people in the industry nor knowledge about the tech industry operations. Thankfully, Y Combinator changed this trajectory dramatically.
Cotter now processes three million monthly authentication requests worldwide. Anthony's expertise in building reliable infrastructure was crucial in scaling the service and has given SMBs and enterprise clients trust in Cotter's services, making it a leader in cybersecurity.
"At UC Berkeley, I learned a lot about infrastructure and cybersecurity. I was able to put that knowledge into practice to build scalable and reliable software." - Anthony says.
Before Cotter, Anthony had many other projects that didn't succeed. Those failures helped him to grow into the capable engineer and entrepreneur that he is today. He learned that building a successful startup comes from a combination of problem-solving and building something that people want. With this, Cotter was born.
Cotter is simple and user friendly. Anthony and his team learned that, to be successful in the early stages, they must use the least amount of technology to solve the problem. He advises upcoming entrepreneurs to embrace being a small company and focus more on speed and simplicity. Fast iteration loops are also key to success for startups, "The faster you incorporate user feedback into the product, the faster you will reach product-market fit", Anthony explains.
Passwordless authentication is more secure and more convenient. It is possible because of new technologies, such as WebAuthn and Public Key Infrastructure. According to Anthony, passwords will soon disappear and passwordless will become the standard method of authentication.
Passwords are the number one reason for digital security breaches. Many make the mistake of reusing them on different platforms and most can't remember complex passwords. Cotter's passwordless authentication relies on private keys in the device's secure storage, eliminating the possibility of remote hacking since hackers would have to get access to the user's physical device. User experience is significantly improved, allowing companies to reduce customer support.
"Switching to passwordless authentication makes it impossible for users to create weak passwords or reuse them. Account takeovers are far too common. Recently, Facebook and Twitch were hacked, and the information of billions of people was exposed to the public. Authentication needs to change before more are harmed." - Anthony warns.
A small project that started in the apartment of Cotter co-founders has become a piece of infrastructure that millions of people around the world depend on. Experiencing firsthand the hardships of this process, Anthony now shares the lessons that he learned along the way with aspiring entrepreneurs. He emphasizes:
"Don't start with an idea, start with a simple solution to an existing problem. A small part of creating a startup is building the product. Most of it is listening to customers and iterating based on their feedback. That is the foundation of building something that people want."