Building a Security App MVP for Cerby to Obtain a $3.5M Pre-Seed Investment

Executive Summary

Cerby is a cybersecurity company focused on helping enterprises manage the growing trend of non-IT purchased software. Cerby enables IT teams to automate key security tasks that are often left undone when individual departments, versus IT teams, are the ones onboarding an application.

Cerby partnered with Wizeline to design and develop a minimum viable product (MVP) to realize its vision of managing automation around authentication, authorization, and security posture management. The engagement started with Wizeline establishing a proof of concept (POC) in August 2020 to create the first version of the application. Wizeline continued to implement product improvements until a minimum viable product was achieved and used by Cerby to bring on its first several design partners and customers. Keep reading to learn the whole story.

Historically, IT teams and end-users have been dependent on app vendors to close their own security gaps. Cerby flips the script by enabling IT teams and end-users to close these gaps themselves.

Belsasar Lepe

Co-Founder & CEO, Cerby

Setting Out on a Mission to Help Companies Secure, Share & Deploy Any App

Today, 81% of hacking-related breaches are due to mismanaged and compromised credentials. As an increasing number of consumer apps are relied on by the enterprise, Enterprise IT and Security teams are dealing with significant risks. These risks — when exploited — negatively impact revenue, productivity, and brand reputation.

In the enterprise, consumer apps see users accessing one corporate identity or many users leveraging a few licenses. A key use case for Cerby is around enabling many users to safely access one or a few application licenses to help companies secure, share and deploy any app. 

In this use case, existing solutions assume 1:1 access, which makes multi-user, multi-MFA, and multi-device access rife with risk. Taking this into account, Cerby knew that any solution must account for these three personas:

  • IT/Security: automated user and app provisioning, admin delegation
  • App owner: user-level tracking, fine-grained permissions, abnormal behavior detection
  • End-user: frictionless user experience, simple authentication, peer access granting 

The growth of remote work amplifies the need for a platform that can safely govern shared digital resources that use many-to-many versus one-to-one access models. Cerby wanted to solve that problem, saving companies from security breaches that could damage their reputation.

While we had hired a few engineers early on, we wanted to ramp up our development process and move faster. Wizeline was the perfect partner for us, enabling us to fill out our team and move quickly on the feedback we were receiving from our early design partners.

Belsasar Lepe

Co-Founder & CEO, Cerby

Creating the POC & MVP for Cerby

At the start of the project, Cerby didn’t have a sufficiently large engineering team to deliver the proof of concept (POC) or minimum viable product (MVP) quickly. Cerby chose Wizeline because of our track record of building talented teams, leveraging new technologies, and delivering quality engineering solutions quickly. 

As soon as all initial details were finalized, Wizeline got to work to create the first version of Cerby — a POC that would grow into the MVP. Wizeline was responsible for deliverables including the product backend and frontend, the first company webpage, mobile apps, and a browser plugin.

The Wizeline team consisted of 3 software engineers, 1 quality assurance engineer, and 1 UX designer. They leveraged the following technologies to build Cerby:

  • AWS cloud
  • Python for backend (inside AWS lambda)
  • React, Next.js, tailwind CSS for frontend
  • React native and swift for mobile (iOS-only)
  • Node.js and React for browser plugins

“The Wizeliners who worked on this project were true Cerbenauts,” said Lepe. “They engage and immerse themselves fully in our processes, our team, and our culture. They don’t skip a beat in how they work with us or the quality of the work they produce.”

Multi-factor authentication workflows from the MVP

Cerby log-in and workplace management screens

Branded sketches and the company/application color palette

Cerby brand illustrations and iconography

Wizeline enabled Cerby to move quickly right after it closed its pre-seed round of funding. This allowed us to get to work faster without putting all our time into hiring the right team.

Belsasar Lepe

Co-Founder & CEO, Cerby

Leveraging the MVP to Sign Customers and Design Partners

In September 2020, Cerby announced that it secured $3.5M in pre-seed funding to expand its product and reach more customers. 

In just a few months, Wizeline delivered a minimum viable product to help Cerby get in front of customers and achieve its goals of streamlining multi-user authorizations while protecting businesses from hijacking attempts. With Cerby, you can:

  • Automate key actions around enrolling 2FA and rotating passwords
  • Easily tether accounts to corporate emails and phone numbers, so your accounts remain attached to the company versus individual employee identities
  • Safely provision access to employees and temp contractors without fear of an ex-employee or one-time event contractor retaining account access beyond approved time limits
  • Track all account actions per user, so you have a detailed log of what each user did in each account, even when your users use the same account login
  • Enable each user accessing the same account with different permissions so that each user has the appropriate level of oversight for content

The Cerby/Wizeline team celebrates a successful launch

“Wizeline has helped us throughout the process of building not only our product but our company as well,” Lepe added. “Initially, it was the engineers and product designers who developed the POC and MVP. More recently, Wizeline has helped with building out our knowledge base and adding capacity to our product design efforts. In the future, we see Wizeline working to build out elements of our 24/7 support team.”

As Cerby continues to grow its business and team, Wizeline will be a key partner at every phase of the journey. To learn more about Cerby, visit the company webpage here.

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