Editor’s note: Startland News selected 10 Kansas City firms to spotlight for its annual Startups to Watch list, now in its seventh year recognizing founders and startups that editors believe will make some of the biggest news in the coming 12 months. The following is one of 2022’s companies. Click here to view the full list of Startups to Watch — presented by sponsors Husch Blackwell and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Having met with dozens of corporations throughout his career, Wyatt Cobb — already a veteran of the software and cybersecurity industries — recognized common problems encircling businesses across the globe, he said.
He launched SOFTwarfare into battle in 2017, staking claim to a niche within the cybersecurity market.
Elevator pitch: Defend assets against cyberattack by delivering innovative solutions and leveraging partnerships with industry-leading technology providers.
- Founders: Wyatt Cobb
- Founding year: 2017
- Current employee count: 15
- Amount raised to date: Just under $10 million
- Noteworthy investors: Senior Execs at RBC, IBM, CrowdStrike
- Programs completed: Global Alliance Partner to Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, Dell, ISO 27001 self-certified, DoD accredited CMMC Registered Provider Organization
“Our focus is on the authentication and integration space,” said Cobb, CEO and co-founder of Prairie Village-based SOFTwarfare. “We are trying to solve the problem of identity in a zero-trust architecture. We also have the ability to facilitate five biometric characteristics of the user through a platform.”
The company also works in network MFA, which allows a new methodology for multi-factor identification and, Cobb believes, could be the next generation of technology.
Click here to explore SOFTwarfare’s offerings.
SOFTwarfare is committed to growing the company using homegrown talent, he said, noting that means taking an active role in training the workforce.
“We feel the burden of education is often on our shoulders,” Cobb said. “We have the ability to educate different individuals and departments. When we see certain good things a corporation might be doing, we put that in our back pocket. We’ll even help connect customers to educate each other.”
Through a “vibrant” internship program, SOFTwarfare partners with the Shawnee Mission School District, as well as universities like Northwest Missouri State, Mizzou, KU, and Missouri State to find talent.
During the COVID pandemic, the company was recognized by the State of Kansas — notably receiving a grant to train more than 300 Kansans through cybersecurity certificates and ethical computer hacking.
“Part of defending a network is understanding how people are trying to break in,” Cobb said. “Sometimes you have to take the hacker mindset. They are stopping at nothing to get access to systems, devices, or socially engineering a person by getting them to do something.”
SOFTwarfare doesn’t disclose its revenue publicly, Cobb said, but all of its funding has been raised locally with the help of investors in the Kansas City area. A large capital raise is expected in 2022.
“We have been accredited by the Department of Defense through the CMMC Accreditation Board,” he continued. “We continue to mature our products with regulatory compliance in mind.”
One of SOFTwarfare’s company foundations is a solid culture, Cobb noted, explaining his hope that workers accomplish the mission of the company, and the mission of their own lives.
“Every one of our employees have Segways. To get developers, sales people, and operations people all together rolling around to lunch or outdoor meetings is something we have had fun with the last couple of years,” he said. “We are striving to continue to build a great culture.”
Another company goal is to grow its footprint to expand SOFTwarfare’s client, revenue, and product bases.
“Folks tend to overestimate what you can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what you can accomplish in five years,” Cobb said. “It’s definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Building a software company has sharpened my skills in what it takes to get a company off the ground and over the mountains in front of you.”
“I learn everyday, and that is one thing I love about being tip of the spear in the developing niche of the cyber arena,” he continued.
With its headquarters in Kansas City — and more than 800 attorneys across 25 U.S. locations, including its virtual office, The Link — Husch Blackwell’s industry-centric approach and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion work give the firm a deep understanding of what its clients face every day.
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Startups to Watch is now in its seventh year, thanks to ongoing support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.