Catonsville startup Light Point relishes national attention
Cyber security firm is among five contestants in a Wall Street Journal startup competition
Cyber startup Light Point Security is feeling the warmth of being in the spotlight.
Catonsville-based Light Point has made it to the top five contestants in a Wall Street Journal startup competition that attracted 500 applications. The company still has to make it through two more challenges to win, but already Light Point is experiencing the benefits of being a winner. Investors, potential clients and media have been flocking to Light Point.
“It elevates our name, company brand,” said Zuly Gonzalez, chief operating officer for Light Point. “It’s brought us more recognition, made us a more familiar name with people.”
Light Point, which launched in 2010, has developed a software product to protect computers from Web-based malware attacks. The software allows users to browse the Web from a virtual cloud, meaning any attacks go there, instead of users’ own computers. The company is based at bwtech@UMBC Research and Development Park.Gonzalez said the attention from investors is a change for the small startup. Entrepreneurs are often the ones seeking out investors, going from pitch meeting to pitch meeting to make their case. But now, Gonzalez said investors from all over are reaching out to her.
“It’s nice,” she said. “It validates that we’re doing something right — we’ve got an interesting product, an interesting company.”
Light Point is not currently raising money, but will look to do an angel investing round next year. Getting to know investors now will be a leg up when it comes time to start raising next year, Gonzalez said.
The experience has also led Gonzalez and company CEO Beau Adkins to rethink their approach to building a customer base. The pair originally planned to reach out to potential customers directly. But through the startup contest, Light Point has realized that getting in with managed service providers — companies that handle IT operations for other businesses — could build their customer base more quickly. Those companies could provide Light Point’s software as a service to their entire network of clients.
The Wall Street Journal will narrow the remaining contenders to three in the next few weeks. A final winner will be announced Nov. 4. Light Point is one of 24 companies selected to participate.
The contest does not have a prize, other than bragging rights. But winning would be a huge vote of confidence from a publication the business community trusts — that would definitely be good for business, Gonzalez said.
“It would say a lot about the company,” Gonzalez said. “We could say, ‘We’re the most innovative and risk-taking company in the nation, according to the Wall Street Journal.’”