Washington Post Live Q&A

ZeroFOX CEO, James C. Foster, joined Elana Fine, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, to take University of Maryland students’ questions.


Elana Fine: Thanks for taking the time to join us. We thought it would be interesting to hear a little more about your decision to change your name? I know a lot of startups stress a lot about their name and would be interested to hear your process for making this big decision.

James C. Foster: Absolutely. The first piece of advice is – do not stress about your name. While I believe a good name is VERY important it is not the most important aspect of the business. If it were 2000 again and you owned a great domain name, then my answer would be different. But the world has changed. Focus your efforts on building your MVP, team, and ecosystem of support. The name will either work or not and once your ecosystem is built you will have more data points if you decide to make a brand upgrade. The feedback has been outstanding on our name change to ZeroFOX from Riskive.

Elana Fine: This isn’t your first startup — what lessons did you learn from your last company that you’ve applied at ZeroFOX?

James C. Foster: The stakes only get bigger when it’s your second time around and previous success doesn’t guarantee future success. With this said, I learned that you need to invest in sales early. Bring in customers ASAP and make sure you are honest with them. Tell them where you are today and where you are going – transparency will ultimately pay off in the long run.