“Finding the Right Funding Is A Bit Like Courting”
The name Infiltron has a certain sci-fi ring to it.
One could even be forgiven for thinking that it’s a robot straight out of the Transformers movie franchise.
Whilst Infiltron isn’t a transformer, it’s undoubtedly been transformative in the life of its inventor, Chasity Wright.
After being fired from her corporate job, the Georgia-based entrepreneur conceived the idea of Infiltron Software Suite, an Internet of Things (IoT) security solution, in 2018.
But Chasity’s invention didn’t come to fruition until 2020 when COVID-19 struck, hastening the need for IoT security solutions everywhere.
“Infiltron is the action of preventing access to information or devices intended to cause damage to a person or organization,” she says. “It empowers everyone to proactively secure their data and devices in real-time beyond the edge.”
Chasity comes from a military family and has an extensive military background. An Air Force veteran, she served eight years in the U.S. Air Force and completed two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was Chasity’s first-hand knowledge of the potentially catastrophic consequences of a breach of security in a military environment that gave her the impetus to launch Infiltron.
“I know military people I’ve served alongside who are still serving today.
“I also looked at people, like my mom and other people in her age group, who are now talking to their devices. Even you and I are giving away so much data and information for the sake of convenience.
“I wanted to create an omnipresent solution where people didn’t even have to think about whether they were protected or not,” she says.
It’s an innovation that has caught the eye of Google.
Recognizing that “across the U.S., there are amazing Black startup founders that are building great companies yet are locked out of access to the funding that is critical to their success,” the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund provides non-dilutive cash to Black-led startups that took part in its programs or were nominated by its partners.
Infiltron’s participation in the program provided Chasity with $50,000 in capital along with hands-on support to help her startup grow.
Finding a niche
And grow Infiltron did.
So much so that when Chasity entered the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center Mentorship Circle program, her technology company serviced more than ten sectors – ranging from agriculture to healthcare.
This was, by far, the largest number of industries covered by any one startup on the program. As a result, one of Chasity’s main objectives coming into the program was to niche down.
“I came to understand that a good business isn’t all things to all people. I did a one-on-one pitch with one of my mentors on the program, which really sharpened my vision of the sectors that were really heavy-hitters. By talking about my industry preferences and those of my team, we were able to pinpoint sectors that we needed to focus on,” she says.
With a plethora of funding options available, another objective Chasity had in mind when she joined the program was to find out how entrepreneurs can find the “right” funding vehicle for their startups.
“On the program, I discovered that finding the right funding is a bit like courting,” she says. “You may get investors who approach you and you may also see some investors that you’re attracted to.”
In terms of identifying the right funding match, Chasity says entrepreneurs can benefit from adopting a more relaxed attitude to potential investors.
“Investors are people, too. So, your approach doesn’t always have to be structured and formal. Just strike up a casual conversation at first and see where it goes,” she says.
Considering funding options
As glitzy as it may appear on social media feeds and in newspaper column inches, VC funding isn’t the be-all-and-end-all for entrepreneurs, says Chasity.
“There are other avenues of funding. You just have to find out what type of money you’re comfortable receiving and funding your startup with.
“At Infiltron, we implemented a strategy from the start that involved trying to obtain as much ‘free’ money as possible.
“I’ve bootstrapped Infiltron from the beginning. I’ve poured quite a bit of my own money into it – almost $300,000. This is because I believe in it, I know it’s needed, I loved building it and we have a great team,” she says.
Listening to peers
Chasity and her team have come a long way since their early days at Infiltron.
They are currently developing wearable technology for the aerospace industry – a sector Chasity says she “fell into.”
Recalling one of the highlights of the program, the tech founder says:
“Even though we were in a virtual room, being in the same space as other founders who are going through the same thing is special. Hearing them speak about what they’re doing, how they’re going about it, their journey as a startup, founder, entrepreneur, Black person – all of that stuff rolled up into one – were probably the best moments of the program. These sessions allowed us to learn things from each other that we could try out in our businesses.”
Chasity’s advice to founders and entrepreneurs considering mentorship programs is: “Go in with your eyes open and ask for what you want.
“Make it conversational, listen to your peers and find out what makes them tick," she added. "This will be your blueprint for how you can help them with what you have – be it information, connections or other resources that may assist them on their journey.”
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
Other TopicsVenture Capital
- The Business of Being Radically Different: Nasdaq Celebrates Pride with Annual LGBTQ+ Leadership Conference
- Nasdaq Honors Juneteenth Through Our Continued Commitment to Equality
- In 2022, Women & Minority-Owned Business Still Receive Less Funding: Here's How Investors Can Do Better
- A Rude Awakening: A Surface-Level Understanding of the Barriers Black Founders Face