SMB Tech Meet & Greet: Brian Azzopardi of Rawstream, Web Filtering, Security and Internet Monitoring
Firmology’s SMB Tech Meet & Greet series takes an inside look at the technology available to small business owners and entrepreneurs, straight from the founders who built them.
Name: Brian Azzopardi
Title: Founder and CEO
Company Name: Rawstream
One Liner: Cloud-Based Web Filtering, Web Security and Internet Monitoring for Small and Medium Sized Businesses
Location: London, UK
Tell us about yourself and your background.
Where to start! I’m Maltese and I “commute” between London and Malta (love the sunny weather). Got deeply involved with technology at a relatively late stage—I was studying political science and economics at the time—but technology has become a passion of mine. After university, I went to work for a mobile start up and then went to work at another technology company where I had an eventful career before leaving to found Rawstream.
I find the intersection of technology and historical progress very interesting—it was the invention of new technology that enabled the Industrial Revolution—and so on from the earliest of times. Right now, we are going through another shift in technology and the nature of work. Exciting times!
What does Rawstream do?
We give business owners the tools to make their business more productive. Rawstream monitors internet access and provides that actionable data to the business so that it can take decisions based on that data and, optionally, filter access.
Yahoo’s recent decision to ban remote working is an interesting case study. Whether you agree or not with Marissa Mayer’s decision, it was based on the VPN logs. Now imagine what richer information you can get from web activity data! Of course data on its own is nothing without context and understanding. But you need the data.
How did you come up with the idea for Rawstream?
While I was working as a product manager at my previous job, I noticed how the software I used on a daily basis was migrating to the cloud—CRM, support, marketing automation, etc. Of course, we weren’t the only ones! Lots of businesses were moving to the cloud, or being born in the cloud. We all spend ever-more time online, whether for work or on Twitter. Of course, the shift to cloud-based tech is a great for all business, but spending ever more time online can easily lead to distractions.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure – and that’s how Rawstream was born: to allow decisions to be driven by data.
How does Rawstream help small businesses?
Rawstream gives small businesses visibility into their employees activities online. You can also set policies to allow or restrict access based on time and users. Considering that 40% of work time spent online is non-work related, we’re pretty certain we can deliver an ROI in the first two weeks.
What makes Rawstream different from your competitors?
There are other web filtering products out there, but they’re focused on solving the security problem for IT admins. Productivity is not really their core focus.
We’ve taken a different tack: obviously we care about security, but we are focused on addressing the needs of the business owner. For instance, our product is the only solution to provide a true and fair view of the time people spend on social web sites.
What are the most important considerations small businesses should have when choosing technology to help them power their business?
Does the technology help the business make, or save, money? Is it a pain to install and time-consuming to maintain?
Small businesses have to juggle a lot of stuff with limited resources and even less time; the tech has to offer compelling value with the least amount of time spent on it.
What other companies or entrepreneurs within the technology space do you admire and think small businesses should know about?
Firmology Readers: Let’s hear your thoughts!
1) Have a question or comment about Rawstream? Drop Brian a note in the comments below.
2) What do you think of our SMB Tech Meet & Greet series thus far? Are there other questions we should be asking? Are any of the questions above unclear or could be asked in a better way? Let us know in the comments below or email us at [email protected]