My name is Armando Romeo.
I'm a global entrepreneur who bootstrapped a cybersecurity company with no capital at 26, growing it into a multi-million-dollar business serving Fortune 500-caliber clients and individuals in 150+ countries. In 2019 I sold my business to a top-tier U.S. private equity.
Here you can watch an interview I gave to a group of students from Politecnico di Milano about leadership and entrepreneurship:
My entrepreneurial journey
I was born in the south of Italy to a middle-class family, and I taught myself computer hacking at 14. Along with cybersecurity, I also had a passion for sharing knowledge with others. By the age of 20, I was running one of the most visited ethical hacking websites in the world that ultimately morphed into the company that started my entrepreneurial career.
Having graduated from the University of Pisa with a Master's Degree in Computer Engineering, I've founded eLearnSecurity as a solo bootstrapped founder with only €900 of cash in the bank.
eLearnSecurity offered virtual, hands-on, role-based training and certifications in all the areas of cybersecurity. We were doing it better, faster, and cheaper than any other existing solutions at the time and quickly became recognized as leaders in our field with strong support from the security community.
Without a single salesperson on the team, we managed to leverage our product reputation to win contracts with clients of the likes of the U.S. Army or U.S. Air Force. Thanks to our industry-unique bottom-up approach, we effectively built a high margin, hyper scalable business model.
As an entrepreneur, I've gone through and overcome all the challenges successful hyper-growth bootstrapped companies typically face:
- Tight budgets
- A product roadmap with no room for mistake
- Tough competitions from VC backed companies
- Self-funded growth
- Talent acquisition and retention challenges
- Hyper-growth internal and external complexities
- Investor relations
- Complex legal and financial governance
In 2013 I managed to fundraise from prominent angel investors in the Middle East who allowed me to open offices in Dubai, U.A.E. and service our global audience with an international team.
In 2015, given the exceptional company's growth and recognition, I moved our headquarters to Santa Clara, CA, in the heart of Silicon Valley while still maintaining a presence in Italy and the U.A.E. effectively running a company with offices in three continents.
My exit and my new life
In 2019 I completely divested my shares of the company, and I started a new chapter of my life as an investor and coach to founders who are seeking to grow their company internationally, whether they are in Europe, in the Middle East, or in Silicon Valley.
I've failed in all aspects of entrepreneurship: from team building to product development. Until I became successful.
I've been lucky to have gone through this incredible journey that has taught me so many lessons very early in my life.
Today, my goal is to help founders from pre-seed to exit, not just with capital infusion but also with actionable advice that saves time and money.