It’s with great pleasure (and certain secrecy) to announce that Dean Sysman, CEO and Co-founder of Axonius, was named an EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 Award Winner for the New York region.
Despite the fact that he:
- Is CEO and Co-founder of the fastest growing cybersecurity company in history by revenue
- Won a gold medal in the International Robotics Olympics in South Korea in 2005
- Graduated from high school at 15, graduated from college one year later, and now runs a unicorn company at age 30
Dean is a pretty humble guy. And not that fake humility where he says, “It’s not about me, it’s about our customers and employees.” No, he actually means it.
A few months ago when I announced at our company All Hands meeting that Dean was a finalist, he promptly told me, “Don't ever do that again.” And since he’s no longer a finalist, I believe I upheld my promise. He doesn’t know this post is being published, and if you’re reading it, that’s likely still true.
Why the Award is Well-Deserved
In the application, one of the questions was a three-parter:
- Discuss the nominee's high standards relating to himself or herself, the business, and his or her determination to be successful.
- How does the nominee demonstrate perseverance in the face of adversity and overcome obstacles?
- Describe how the nominee is an independent thinker who is willing to take risks in the face of uncertainty.
Here’s the answer:
As a 26 year-old CTO at a YC-funded cybersecurity startup, Dean Sysman recognized a massive market opportunity. Though organizations spend millions on cybersecurity tools, they struggle with the fundamentals of understanding which devices they have. He knew the problem could be solved, and he couldn’t leave it alone. He left to start Axonius to solve a decades-old problem that was only getting worse.
Since then, he’s built a company worth $1.2 billion, raised $195 million in funding, and Axonius has over 200 employees —enjoying unprecedented growth during a pandemic. The company has earned numerous awards and built a product that customers love. Some of the most iconic brands in the world trust Axonius to help them understand what assets they have and whether they are secure.
He’s carefully built a culture of transparency by design, encouraging employees to take big swings and embrace inevitable failures. With offices in New York and Tel-Aviv and employees around the globe, his commitment to transparency and leading by example has resulted in a culture that prioritizes resourcefulness, confidence, and an unwavering dedication to making customers happy.
As a leader, Dean has the unique ability to simultaneously trust his leaders to make their own decisions while never being disconnected from each team’s priorities. He offers himself as a resource to his functional areas rather than micromanaging, a level of trust that drives innovation and growth.
What Dean has built is special. He’s an incredible leader dedicated to solving a real problem, delighting customers, and building a team that loves working here.
Congratulations, Dean. Although you’ll never admit it, this award is totally deserved— and there are hundreds of employees, customers, and friends who agree.
About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for unstoppable entrepreneurs. These visionary leaders deliver innovation, growth and prosperity that transform our world. The program engages entrepreneurs with insights and experiences that foster growth. It connects them with their peers to strengthen entrepreneurship around the world. Entrepreneur Of The Year is the first and only truly global awards program of its kind. It celebrates entrepreneurs through regional and national awards programs in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries. National overall winners go on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ title. ey.com/us/eoy
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