A community of tech professionals and influencers came together to honor the best and brightest entrepreneurs of the LGBTQ community at its 8th Annual Awards ceremony and gala last Friday night. Zeguro’s Sidd Gavirneni and Dan Smith received the Next Generation Award.
Last Friday night, I put on a cocktail dress and left my suburban home with a husband and two kids and drove into San Francisco for something truly inspiring. While it wasn’t the first time I had a night out on the town, it was the first night I had been in a room of technology professionals (usually a primarily male crowd), and no one even flirted with me. While I might have normally felt insecure about this, I took some comfort in reminding myself that I was also surrounded by the best and brightest of the LGBTQ community and having the time of my life.
What Andres Wydler and his team have done is create something truly spectacular with StartOut. I have never seen a room full of people so connected by positive energy and so capable of influence. Rallying around not only a personal cause but a deep understanding of what is possible when you band together around talented individuals and teams, this group is capable of changing the face of business today.
I have never been so proud to be part of this amazing team led by two such extraordinary people — Sidd Gavirneni and Dan Smith — who were part of StartOut’s first cohort of entrepreneurs. Sidd and Dan succeeded in raising a funding round in 2018 and continue to receive support from world-class investors including Healthy Ventures, Munich Re/HSB Ventures, QBE Ventures, Social Capital, Plug and Play, and Sparkland Capital. They are dedicating their lives to keeping organizations of all sizes safe from cyber threats.
When receiving their awards, Dan and Sidd expressed words of gratitude to the StartOut community:
“Since the second night I arrived in the country, StartOut’s Annual Award Celebration has been one of the most instrumental nights of my life. I met my co-founding partner, Sidd, and some amazing mentors,” said Dan Smith.
“Being part of StartOut really enabled me to be who I am today,” shared Sidd Gavirneni. “But it’s also important to realize that our work here is not done. Last week I was at an event talking to about 300 undergrads from all over the country, and the only thing on their mind was would they be successful if they came out. So even though we have achieved so much in our bubble of SF and New York, others from all over need the support of this group of entrepreneurs.
As I understand it, it takes a ton of courage to come out as a member of the LGBTQ community. But it also takes a ton of courage to start a business and grow it through the many bumps and prevail against all odds. Perhaps that is why StartOut has landed on something very special and also why Zeguro is likely to continue its growth trajectory and succeed in its mission to keep every business safe. Entrepreneurs who make this journey with StartOut know what it takes to transcend the confinements of ordinary — deeply and intuitively.