A Testament to a Great Team

June 30, 2015 Rami Essaid

Leading up to today’s funding announcement, I had been getting a lot of kudos and pats on the back; a lot of praise. As CEO, one of my primary jobs is to keep the company solvent so whenever I close a round with a huge cash infusion, it’s easy for outsiders to think “he did a good job”. However, this wasn’t a one man show. The age old idiom – it takes a village to raise a child – has proven to be even more true in raising our baby that is Distil. None of what we have built would be possible today without the hard work, dedication, and support of an amazing group of people around us and because of this great team we are confident that there will be much more greatness to come.


The team obviously starts with my co-founders and our employees. There is not a single person that works for Distil that I would not jump to hire again. Every person working in this company brings an energy and originality of ideas that keeps our day-to-day fresh and invigorating. Our team chemistry has been so fantastic, that I'm willing to go on the record and say that I'd be willing to invest in or start another startup with any of the amazing people working at Distil today. We have been able to maintain a culture of hard work and innovation thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of the team and it is this spirit that will lead to many more innovations allowing Distil to change the world of web security.

While we have not had an employee yet quit at Distil, I look forward to a day where employers get excited about hiring ex-Distillers because they are a pedigree above all else.


The team doesn’t stop there. Someone had to write a check to fund our crazy-at-the-time idea, and this group stepped up to the challenge of supporting us through critical moments in our company's history. Investors have meaningful skin in the game and have had a dramatic impact on the course of the company. We have been very fortunate to have a terrific team of investors that shared our big vision for improving the world of web security. They have been patient and wise in helping guide us through early growing pains and have been supportive but not overbearing, allowing us to learn and develop as individuals and as a company.

In this round we bring on David Cowan, partner at Bessemer Ventures, who brings a wealth of security and operator knowledge to the table. David started looking at us in our A round, and kept in touch even though our other investors were able to move a little bit quicker at the time. Regardless, we're extremely proud to be a part of the prestigious Bessemer Portfolio and really look forward to working with David in the years to come.

Speaking of our A round, we definitely have to give a strong shout out to Ryan McIntyre of Foundry Group and David Cohen of Techstars who led our Series A. If you’re not familiar with Foundry they are one of the most respected early stage investors having quite literally written the book on venture capital. Techstars has been supportive of Distil since the beginning and David Cohen was one of our earliest mentors.

And finally, I need to give a special mention to John Frankel of FFVC and Lister Delgato of Idea Fund who were absolutely critical in the foundation and survival of our company during the Seed years. They were followed by Militello Capital, CIT Gap, Correlation Ventures, and others who took a risk on us when nobody else dared to even entertain the idea.


I think this is one of the most important parts of the team that many companies forget about. Our customers have been instrumental in guiding the company. Not only have they provided the proof that Distil is a great service (worth paying for) but customers have helped shape every aspect of the product. We take customer feedback very seriously and always prioritize features and enhancements that a consensus of customers ask for.

I don’t want to go on a humble brag listing logos so instead I would like to sincerely thank the latest handful of interactions.

Thank you Rob Gennaro, Marty Boos, Russell Garrison, Kurt Freytag, Michael Bradshaw. Thanks also to the many more that have helped shape where we are today and what's to come.


Most people measure success by one number - revenue - and for Distil that number grows by double digits every month; by over 400% each year. That however doesn't tell the whole story. The team is the real story and that is made up of over 60 employees located in our San Francisco CA and Arlington VA offices. This year our location number will go from 2 to 4 as we open up Raleigh NC and London offices.

The most important number to us is our customer number. We have thousands of companies and are protecting tens of thousands of websites. Dozens of our customers are on the Fortune 500 list and we have protected them all from over 50 BILLION Bad Bots.


Doing what no one else has done has been our strength since the the start of our company and we have much more to come. While not wanting to spoil the surprise, there are a lot of exciting things brewing at Distil including our second product that will reinvent how enterprises view Web Application and Web Services Security. Stay tuned for the announcement later this year.


We’re growing exponentially and we’d love for you to come be a part of the magic that fuels our growth. Check out our jobs page to join the employee team. Or take Distil for a product test drive to become part of the customer team.

About the Author

Rami Essaid

Rami Essaid is the CEO and Co-founder of Distil Networks, the first easy and accurate way to identify and police malicious website traffic, blocking 99.9% of bad bots without impacting legitimate users. With over 12 years in telecommunications, network security, and cloud infrastructure management, Rami continues to advise enterprise companies around the world, helping them embrace the cloud to improve their scalability and reliability while maintaining a high level of security.

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