Horangi CEO and co-founder Paul Hadjy is always connected. Whether sitting in a meeting or returning the emails that crop up overnight, the 33-year-old entrepreneur aims to keep his two-year-old cyber security company focused on clients. And as such, he finds himself forging new relationships and sustaining established ones with his team, client entrepreneurs and investors.
Horangi currently services about 100 clients, gaining traction for its customized security strategies and integrated cybersecurity platform that provides visibility to an organization's security posture, to identify and eliminate threat utilizing a suite of products directly integrated with their Cyber Operations team ready to deploy from 6 offices across Asia. Riding a $3.1 million Series A investment from Monk’s Hill at the end of last year, in 2018 Horangi hired 45 new team members, more than tripling the size of its staff, and expanded the range of services and solutions it can offer.
As the company springs forward, Paul splits his time between fundraising, leading a growing team, and working with the SME clients who share his unrelenting drive to improve business efficiency and effectiveness. Here’s how a typical day looks for him.
Days Full Of Meetings
Paul wakes up to his alarm like clockwork at 7 a.m. to scroll through emails from staff, clients and investors, taking that first waking half hour to structure his day ahead. He’ll then go for a run or hit the gym, as he finds exercise the best way to clear his head. Then he arrives at Horangi’s Singapore headquarters around 10 a.m.
A US national, Paul first came to Singapore in 2013 while working for established cybersecurity company Palantir Technologies. He says he’s always identified as an entrepreneur, so it was only a matter of time before he started a new business. He and another Palantir alumnus, Lee Sult, founded Horangi in 2016. The co-founders stayed in Singapore to build upon their connections and Singapore’s neighborly startup scene.
“The Singapore community is well set up for [networking],” Paul said. “We’ve been able to utilize our connections to help move the company forward, and most people in Singapore are pretty open to talk about their experience.”
The business is still revving up, so Paul works in all facets of the company. Now that his staff has grown to 65 team members across seven offices, Paul finds himself spending a lot of time in the company Slack channel, giving directions and suggesting solutions to some of the more complex security issues.
He and the co-founding team had to adjust rapidly to Horangi’s new scale, but maintaining organization with an enlarged team has been a point of pride for the company.
As Horangi dove into markets in the region and simultaneously expanded its client base, the company accepted funding from Monk’s Hill Ventures in order to gain help with strategy and direction. The venture capital team’s entrepreneurial experience was also an attractive asset to Paul, and the alliance has paid off by connecting Horangi with potential hires and investors. Paul said the firm has been willing to field his late night and early morning questions about hiring, financials and strategy.
Forging Connections Across Industries
As the company builds its client base and expands reach, Paul also devotes a significant part of his day to cultivating relationships with current and potential investors. With the success of its Series A, Horangi is seeking further investment to serve its growing client base and expand its reach into new countries and sectors.
Paul said the company plans to stick to serving SMEs across all fields it enters. There aren’t very many companies offering cyber security solutions in Southeast Asia today, and most in the field target governments or large corporate clients. In Horangi, the co-founders “wanted to build something similar” to the security firms that serve major corporations, but at a scale to suit small clients.
“We wanted to help solve cyber security issues for the little guys,” Paul said.
Even as Horangi’s client base grows, Paul is determined to keep the service personalized to each consumer. He often joins meetings with new and current customers, helping them understand the threats they face and ways to mitigate that risk.
Reveling In The Long Hours
Co-founders often end up giving endless hours to their companies, and Paul is no exception. He generally gets home by 7 p.m., and if he doesn’t have a dinner meeting, he often spends time after hours finishing up the day’s work or prepping for the next. He finds it crucial to have a support group that understands his commitment of time and energy to his work.
“I’m certainly interested in doing what I’m doing, and that’s the best part for me. My work is my hobby,” he said.
There’s one group of people Paul can always rely on to understand his work-centric lifestyle: his customers, most of whom are entrepreneurs themselves. The opportunity to meet, work with and learn from like-minded founders and executives is one of the best parts of his job, he said. “They’re just like me,” Paul explained. “They’re trying to build a business themselves...and we think about business in the same way.”
With contribution from Danielle Keeton-Olsen.
Interested in reading more about Paul’s background story and personal experiences? Take a look at his profile story here.