Just Getting Started with Jon Debonis, Co-Founder and CEO of Trustle

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Introducing Jon Debonis, Co-Founder and CEO of Trustle

Sara:

I'm Sara Lindquist from Fuse. We're an early-stage venture firm based right here in the Pacific Northwest. And just like the founders in our portfolio, we are just getting started. We believe that founders deserve more: more urgency, more community, more expertise, more reliability - more of everything. And we aim to deliver. Join me as I introduce each of our portfolio companies in the Fuse family to date.

Today, you'll hear from Jon Debonis, Co-founder and CEO of Trustle. Join us as we cover a few topics about the business, including how it's been going and growing, and how they've assembled a killer team to build the next generation Okta. 

Let's get started!

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Sara:

Thanks for being here, Jon!

Jon:

You bet.

Sara:

Well, I appreciate you taking the time and I'm excited for you to share a bit about your path and dive into Trustle. So to get started, it'd be great if you could just share the quick company overview and how you're serving customers today.

Jon:

Trustle is a company - it's a software as a service application, to help engineering teams find out who has access to what and track why. We bring smart, temporary access to reduce security friction, and keep the company safe. Customers are using Trustle to provision temporary access for their Cloud-based infrastructure and data services like AWS.

Sara:

And Jon, what have customers been doing before, typically?

Jon:

Before Trustle, customers were using spreadsheets and manual tedious processes - with a lot of manual overhead that slows everything down and frustrates a lot of people.

Sara:

Yeah, I imagine. And so, you've obviously had experience in this space. When did you first know that you needed to build Trustle? Walk us back in time a little bit.

Jon:

Over the years, we've been managing access on a variety of systems. Everything from Windows NT, all the way through today's Cloud infrastructure, like AWS. It wasn't until I was a CSO for a fast-growing startup (Blend) that we sat down and said that we need to find a company that can manage the access management problems for us and meet our compliance requirements. And we couldn't find anything. And so we started to build little bits of the solution. As we kept on scaling those little bits, we outgrew them quickly, and then we had to build new ones.

Sara:

And so, the team you've built today - it's growing. Describe a little bit about why you are uniquely positioned to build this?

Jon:

So, I think the experience at Blend definitely shed some light on it. We were able to build some solutions, some basic access management, access request systems, and we saw the problems with those early on. It wasn't until I met Emiliano, working on a side project called Spiffy, and we were talking about the authorization problem, that it clicked, that this is a company that needed to be created. And so, Emiliano is the perfect partner for this because he was on the founding team for Okta, which is probably the most comparable product to what we're building.

Sara:

Right. It's a killer group. Well, we certainly believe if there's anyone to do it, it's going to be you two and the team you're pulling together, so.

Jon:

I appreciate that.

Sara:

Yeah. And so, as you're building out your team - obviously you're growing - this is perhaps collective for you and Emiliano, but what would you say is a word that would describe the culture you're trying to create at Trustle?

Jon:

I think some people might say experience, but maybe that's not the right word for us. I prefer leaders. We're leading the industry to new automated ways of managing access. We've been doing it manually for way too long. And now seems to be the right inflection point where lots of smart companies are agreeing with us that this has to change and we need to get smarter about this.

Sara:

I love that. So obviously being a founder and a leader of a company is hard work and you've done both, and it comes with all sorts of challenges. So what keeps you going? Perhaps, even in moments where others would maybe just call it quits or throw in the towel?

Jon:

Well, I'd like to say it's easy. But I think if startups were easy, then everybody would be doing it. But I can say that when things do get tough and challenging, you have to stop and look back at where it started. And you have to look back at the people and the relationships along the way. And that's where you start to see that you took an idea from nothing and turned it into something. And over time, the average trajectory starts to look better and better. And as you start to improve the product, you add more customers and you expand the market. So I think that is how we look at it and how we stay excited by it.

Sara:

It makes sense, keeping that perspective. So you're able to say, "I do have a purpose for getting up every day in the morning and building a company that's actually going to make a difference!" So, that's awesome. I appreciate you sharing that. Okay. So in closing here, one final question for you: What do you need more of right now? How can any listeners or anyone tuning in from the worldwide web, how can they help or get involved?

Jon:

I think it's simple. We're looking for more smart companies to partner with and to work with us, to build out this vision. And anybody who wants to can always email us at: hello@trustle.com and we can start a conversation there.

Sara:

Awesome. And are you hiring?

Jon:

We are hiring and we have a Careers page. I believe it's trustle.com/careers.

Sara:

Great. Okay. Well, we’ll be sure to point people your way. Well, Jon, thank you so much. Appreciate you taking the time to share a bit about your story, and I'm so excited to watch you and the team continue to crush it!

Jon:

Thank you.

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Sara:

As Jon said, reach out to hello@trustle.com if you or your company is interested in getting connected. And also, be sure to check out trustle.com/careers if you have interest in getting directly involved with this awesome team. 

Be sure to listen in on our next interview, on the Fuse blog page. Thanks for listening!