Albert Stepanyan of Scylla

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Albert Stepanyan, the founder and CEO of Scylla, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Scylla – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

I left the military in 2008, and since 2010, I’ve worked as a security and AI consultant worldwide, as well as an engineer. I and my team operated in several countries, including Egypt and Mexico. In 2018, from this background and experience, Scylla was born as a startup Our mission is to empower the private security industry with next-gen AI solutions, and solve the issue of active shooter situations and terror attacks. We believe there is a lot of work to be done in the private security space.

Private security integrators are one of the largest audiences, as well as former military and law enforcement officers. When they resign, they get into the private security space, and we believe that there’s not much tech innovation happening there right now. This space should be moving into automation and cloud, and there should be more use of new technologies such as AI. We believe that the market is underserved and we can fill the gap by solving the same problems I was facing myself when I was doing services for different institutions as a security consultant in 2016-2017.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

I would say the end of our first year (2018) was tough, as we bootstrapped the startup ourselves. The market was not ready for advanced AI solutions – the mentality was geared towards embedded solutions only, and we were one of the first ones in the space. On top of that, we had to hire and retain talent and pay market competitive salaries, since my co-founder and I couldn’t code the whole thing ourselves. To achieve the level of accuracy that we need to save lives, we had to hire world-class professionals with a scientific background, and it’s tough to attract and sustain that level of talent if you are a new startup. However, we eventually achieved that by creating a good team culture and raising venture capital.

What does the future hold for Scylla?

We see the future of predictive behavioral science. For now, we are very good at detecting and tracking threats such as gun violence and shoplifting. However, we believe the future will be to prevent crime before it happens and the weapon is even visible.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Glendale?

It’s a beautiful place with lots of opportunities and a comfortable infrastructure without the costs you face in Silicon Valley. We see very successful companies growing in Glendale or moving here, and it’s gradually becoming a prominent tech hub.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I have my formula, which is not “fake it ’till you make it”. My formula is “believe, build, share your belief with others, grow”.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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