Co-founder of Sentrant Security, Ehsan Mokharti, credits his entrepreneurial success to the cybersecurity ecosystem in New Brunswick.

Mediaplanet: What inspired you to pursue a career in cybersecurity?

Ehsan Mokharti: Keeping cyberspace safe and secure at a time where technology is booming across the globe seemed like an interesting challenge for me. Cybersecurity is dynamic, complicated, fun, and rewarding; this combination is a rare, which I very much appreciate about this field.

MP: How did your university mentor you for a successful career?

EM: At the University of New Brunswick, our research group held weekly meetings with industry partners and collaborated on different projects with multiple entities. Working with leading-edge companies not only enticed me to pursue an entrepreneurial journey but it gave me valuable insight into where the current challenges exist.

MP: In your opinion, what was the most important thing you took away from your educational experience? How did that influence your career development?

EM: The world of research is very broad, which means finding the right outlet is crucial. The most important matter I learned from my university experience was how to find the area with the highest priority for applied research and how to verify the progress against real-world metrics. In R&D, realizing that you are not doing the right thing is the first step of doing the right thing!

MP: How has the cybersecurity ecosystem evolved since you began your journey as an entrepreneur in the industry?

EM: Cybersecurity is an ever-changing domain. It has become more dynamic and exciting day-by-day. Since I started my journey in this field, there seems to be no downtrend for cybersecurity in the foreseeable future.

MP: What could be one of the biggest challenges faced by a cybersecurity startup when trying to develop their business?

EM: Not figuring out what to prioritize. Cybersecurity is as challenging as it is promising. Trying to solve a problem and commercializing the solution needs a sequence of timely actions ranging from quality R&D to sufficient funding and proper sales, marketing, and partnerships. It’s a tough journey but definitely doable.

MP: What would you identify as key areas aspiring cybersecurity entrepreneurs should focus their services on in order break into the Canadian marketplace with a unique advantage?

EM: There are huge national and international opportunities ahead for the Internet of Things and in artificial intelligence.

MP: Why did you choose to start your business in Fredericton?

EM: There is a high-quality talent pool with the University of New Brunswick’s top-notch computer science graduates. Local investors — like the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and Technology Venture Corporation — are very supportive of innovative entrepreneurs. And with the Government of New Brunswick recently launching a cybersecurity initiative and with the new Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity at the university, this seemed like the ideal spot to start an entrepreneurial journey.