Breaking Barriers and Forging Paths: The Inspiring Journey Of Teleskope’s Women Founders

by THEFUTURE.TEAM
Julie Trias (CTO, Teleskope.ai) and Elizabeth Nammour (CEO, Teleskope.ai) LIZZY NAMMOUR
Julie Trias (CTO, Teleskope.ai) and Elizabeth Nammour (CEO, Teleskope.ai)LIZZY NAMMOUR

Only 15% of tech startup founders are female, according to a survey conducted by a global advisory and research organization focused on startups. In the realm of cybersecurity, the statistics are even more discouraging: for startups that manage to secure funding exceeding $1 million, the proportion of female CEOs drops to a mere 3%, as revealed by a separate research initiative.

Bucking this disheartening trend is Teleskope.ai, a startup operating in the data security sphere. Founded and spearheaded by two enterprising women who initially crossed paths while developing a data security platform at Airbnb, their remarkable accomplishment prompts the question: How can we foster a greater influx of women into the cybersecurity startup landscape?

In the case of Teleskope, the co-founders share an immigrant background and a fervent desire to apply their engineering acumen to tackle business challenges head-on. Elizabeth Nammour, the 28-year-old co-founder and CEO, is a first-generation American citizen with roots tracing back to Lebanon. Despite her father’s inclination toward liberal arts education, Elizabeth’s inherent inquisitiveness and her fascination with technological creation drove her to pursue a Computer Science degree at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering.

Julie Trias, the co-founder and CTO of Teleskope, at 40 years old, is an LGBT-rights advocate and a military veteran. Julie’s father played a pivotal role in introducing her to the world of technology, guiding her through the intricacies of website design and application development. His foresight regarding the burgeoning potential of the internet inspired her to forge a career in the technology sector. Using the GI Bill, she then put herself through school to learn computer science and engineering.

But what ignited the collaborative spark between Lizzy and Julie, propelling them toward the establishment of Teleskope? Can their journey serve as a blueprint for other aspiring founders? I queried Elizabeth about her initial foray into technology, especially considering her father’s leanings towards liberal arts.

Elizabeth explained, “Given my aptitude for math and my affinity for computers (while I admittedly had a distaste for electrical engineering), software engineering felt like the natural path for me. Joining Airbnb presented me with various team options, and delving into the data security challenges was particularly captivating. It became evident that security held the most promising opportunities, leading me to steer my career in that direction.”

Julie, on the other hand, emerged from a military background to earn a degree in computer science and electrical engineering. She had previously served as a Linux kernel developer and played a pivotal role as one of the initial software engineers on Airbnb’s site reliability team. “Amidst the ‘shift left’ in security philosophy, which emphasizes early integration of security measures, I found myself increasingly drawn into security discussions and issues. Consequently, joining Airbnb’s data security team was a seamless progression,” she recounted.

Julie’s journey was further nurtured by her father’s introduction to software development at the tender age of 12. Collaboratively crafting websites and exploring systems became their cherished bonding activity, cultivating her genuine affection for software development. “My dad’s influence was the cornerstone of my enjoyment and passion for software engineering. His support in my decision to pursue a career in software engineering brought him immense happiness,” she fondly recalled.

Their tenure at Airbnb witnessed the formulation and implementation of data security policies. Yet, both discerned a glaring absence of automation tools and a paucity of effective existing solutions. Their discussions centered around the potential to address this challenge, necessitating a divergence from their established paths at Airbnb and charting an independent course aimed at solving intricate enterprise-level data security dilemmas.

The Teleskope.ai team.
The Teleskope.ai team.LIZZY NAMMOUR

The sphere of data security resonates most with two categories of organizations: those entrenched in heavy regulations and those engaged in swift R&D, necessitating the seamless transfer of substantial data volumes. Traditional data security vendors often adopt a reactive approach, intervening after data breaches occur. Teleskope, however, adopts a pioneering approach by targeting the root of the issue: the developers responsible for data movement. This strategic integration allows them to preemptively identify problems long before they escalate. By doing so, Teleskope not only enhances safety but also accelerates organizational development.

The technology sector, and particularly the security domain, beckons for more trailblazers like Elizabeth and Julie. Their shared appreciation for untapped growth prospects, despite hailing from diverse backgrounds, underscores their shared values. Driven by their intelligence and ambition, they intuitively navigated their careers toward their present positions. The technology realm yearns for more women like them to embrace the path of innovation within their own startups. And, significantly, this journey doesn’t necessitate paternal guidance.

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