Interview with Ryan Corey, Co-Founder at Cybrary

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Technology has been changing the way we live. It has got so much entangled with our lives that we just can’t imagine our lives without technology. But as the technology is evolving and taking over most of the sectors there also comes an ever-increasing risk of data breach and cyber attacks. A lot of sensitive information can be stolen and misused, both at personal as well as company levels. This increased risk of data breach and cyber attacks has created a great demand for cyber security experts. But due to the high costs associated with cyber security courses there is a huge gap between the demand and supply of such professionals. This situation has given rise to a company called Cybrary.

Cybrary is a company that is revolutionizing cyber security learning by making the best training curriculum available to anyone, anywhere in the world, online, for free. It was launched on January 13, 2015 by Ralph P. Sita, Jr., CPA and Ryan J. Corey. Since then the company has grown on to become the largest provider of cyber security training on the planet. The goal of the company is to make IT and cyber security training available for free to everyone, everywhere, forever. With a variety of cyber security topics in their course catalogue, Cybrary is certainly proving to be a game changer in the cyber security domain.

Here is a small interview with Ryan Corey, one of the co-founders of the company.

What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?

Cybrary was started on the strong belief that cyber security education should be free for everyone, everywhere. The fact that there is a skills gap of over 1,000,000 unfilled jobs in the field is a testament to what overpriced training has done to the industry. The playing field should be leveled and everyone should have at least the opportunity to learn cyber security. We provide the opportunity, they put in the hard work and then we help them connect with the employers.

Can you tell us a bit about your partners who are part of your core team?

I founded the company with Ralph P. Sita, Jr., who I worked for at his classroom based cyber security training company called TrainACE, for 12 years. The person who built the website and all of its features, is Brad Hokarson. I had been working with Brad for years prior to Cybrary, he is one of the best backend developers I have ever met. We came up with the idea of Cybrary in October, and Brad had the entire platform and website ready for beta by December. While Brad was building the website, Ralph and I were busy building classes that we could host on Cybrary.

What is the current Team Size?  

The two co-founders, and 5 employees, one of those five started this week.

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How did you hire your initial team?

The earliest employee was a personal referral from someone that Ralph had working for him at TrainACE. The others were hired from online sources.

Which recruiting channels work best for you? Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?

Online job boards work well for us. We pretty much always end up with a few great candidates that we can choose from.

What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

The top things that we are seeking in a candidate are passion, work ethics, intelligence and a desire to be successful. We have our company values written out on a document, and we send them to interviewees prior to them coming in to visit us. In fact, we often post them on the job descriptions that we post. One thing that we don’t value very much, is experience in the role that we are hiring for. We are a startup, so we want hard-working grinders, over people who just have experience.

According to you how much is the competition in your vertical?

No one is currently offering cyber security training classes online for free. Some companies do offer cyber security training, but not for free.

How big is the industry?

We believe that the industry is made up of about 40 million people currently, and that ranges from experienced professionals, people looking to begin a career and everyone in between. We also have classes on Cybrary that are great for coders / developers, so that these type of persons can find value in joining Cybrary as well.

Who all are your competitors and what are your views on them?

SANS is the closest thing to a competitor that we have. They are a great company, thought leaders and excellent classes, but $3,000 per online class.

What are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote ? Which channels have been very effective? Which marketing channels have been super flops?

We let our community fuel our growth right now. We spend about $3,000 per month on paid acquisition, mainly because we are focused on rapidly improving the quality of our product. So at the time, company resources are dedicated to design and UX.

What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

Paid marketing does indeed work for us, we have a CAC of about $1 within paid channels.

Can you elaborate on the challenges in promoting your website/ App?

We are lucky in that as we have some pretty substantial virality working for us. For every new user that joins, that new user is worth about 1.23 total users, because of the high volume of social inviting that users within our community participate in.

What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?

We launched on 1/13/2015 . We have 365,000 registered users now and are growing by about 1,000 new users every day. We delivered over 4,000,000 minutes of training last month, to about 80,000 people, globally. We are not focused on revenue at the moment.

Based on your experience would you have any advice to new Entrepreneurs / Startups?

Just that its really important to remain focused on enhancing your team’s strengths. If you spend much of your seed stage time on building and enhancing the inherent strengths that your team possesses, you will have an easier path to traction. Rather than if you spend less time on your strengths, to work on your weaknesses instead.

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