Nov. 15, 2022

Why I’m Joining YL Ventures

By Frank Kim

Frank Kim recently joined YL Ventures as our new CISO-in-Residence! So, how will he impart his rich cybersecurity and technological expertise to guide startup founders?

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I’m extremely excited to announce that I’m joining YL Ventures as their new CISO-in-Residence!

So, what does that mean? In practical terms, I’m an official member of the YL Ventures team and will collaborate directly with cybersecurity startup founders on their ideation, product-market-fit, and value realization. It’s an even more hands-on and concentrated form of what I’ve already been doing as a YL Ventures advisor, and I’ll be offering this kind of support in-house and on a regular basis.

It’s also an opportunity to offer my personal advice and perspectives developed over the course of my career. Let’s briefly unpack the formative experiences that shape how I approach building companies and business-enabling security products.

Tech Shouldn’t Hold Us Back

What feels like a long, long time ago, I started my career as a developer creating applications and deploying systems. While I learned a lot and made many friends, it was also challenging. We deployed a new version of our app to production just 0.7 times per year. Yes, you read that right. That’s only once every 18 months!

This was my first personal insight into the potential limitations of technology that should have been helping to boost productivity. At the time, we just didn’t have the right tools, best practices or knowledge we needed.

My desire for a new challenge led me to start fixing different security vulnerabilities, catapulting me into CISO-hood and my eventual involvement with a host of startups. Ultimately, this is how I found myself charged with overseeing and leading the CISO Leadership and Cloud Security curricula at the SANS Institute.

Through it all, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss major enterprise challenges with some very talented people. Incredibly, a common theme runs through all of these conversations despite their diverse background and goals. Everyone is looking for help and partnership on their journeys to growing their security programs, their teams, and themselves. Critically, this includes understanding how to manage risk and support business at an appropriate pace.

Security Should be Business-Friendly 

Technology is supposed to speed progress up, not slow us down. My early career showed me just how much tech can hold businesses back. Thankfully, modern practices and tools enabled by the cloud, DevOps, APIs, microservices, Infrastructure as Code, and much more have helped technology teams achieve new heights of efficiency.

Despite these improvements, though, the need for strong security leadership and the urgency to move at the speed of business still remains. We have yet to perfect the relationship between business and tech latency, and resolving this gap is my mission. We need better, more modern approaches for securing today’s digitally-led businesses so that security transforms from a potential hindrance into a proper enabler.

This brings us full circle to my role as CISO-in-Residence. YL Ventures founders have a unique ability to anticipate and meet the needs of modern CISOs, security teams, and businesses. Every YL Ventures founder that I’ve spoken with is inherently building for the cloud-first world of today and tomorrow where leadership, coupled with innovative ways of securing the modern ecosystem, matters more than ever.

My goal is to help founders and entrepreneurs bring these new capabilities to light. And, with any luck, we’ll be able to do much more than just 0.7 deploys per year!