Elevate Security announces $8M Series A to alter employee security behavior

It’s well understood that many network breaches begin with phishing emails designed to trick users into giving hackers their credentials. They don’t even have to work to find a vulnerability, they can just waltz in the front door. Elevate Security, a San Francisco startup, wants to change that by helping employees understand phishing attacks better using behavioral techniques. Today, the company announced an $8 million Series A round to build on this idea.

The investment was led by Defy Partners. Existing investor Costanoa Ventures also participated. Today’s round brings the total raised to $10 million, according to the company.

What has the company created to warrant this investment? “We have a solution that motivates, measures and rewards employees to change their security habits, while at the same time giving security teams unprecedented visibility into the security habits and actions of their employees,” co-founder Masha Sedova told TechCrunch.

Specifically, the company has built a Security Behavior platform. “Our platform pulls in data sets that allow employees or security teams to see where the strengths and weaknesses of their organization lie, and then apply a suite of solutions that are rooted in behavioral science that helps them change behavior,” she explained.

Sedova and co-founder Robert Fly started working on this problem when both were part of the Salesforce security team. They began working with the idea of gamifying security to teach employees and customers how to be more security aware.

Elevate Security dashboard

When Fly’s team at Salesforce dug into the root of security problems, it found that it was often simply human error. He said it wasn’t malicious on the employee’s part, but they had jobs to do, and expected the security team to handle these issues. He realized that shifting employees to become more security aware was as much a behavioral psychology problem as a technology one and the roots of Elevate began to take shape.

The first product they built on top of the platform is called Hacker’s Mind, a tool designed to help employees understand how hackers think and operate.

The company launched in 2017 and currently has 15 employees, half of which are women. It also boasts an entirely female board of directors, and the startup plans to continue this trend as it staffs up with the new funding. Its headquarters are in San Francisco, but it just opened an engineering office in Montreal. Current customers include AutoDesk, Exxon and Illumio.

DoorDash subsidizes driver wages with tips

It’s true that DoorDash offsets the amount it pays its drivers with customer tip, according to an FAQ page on its own site.

“For each delivery, you will always receive at least $1 from DoorDash plus 100% of the customer tip,” DoorDash states on a Dasher FAQ page. “Where that sum is less than the guaranteed amount, DoorDash will provide a pay boost to make sure you receive the guaranteed amount. Where that sum is more than the guaranteed amount, you pocket the extra amount.”

To be clear, drivers see the guaranteed amount in the app before deciding to accept or reject the order. That amount is based on the size of the order, whether or not you have to place the order in person, distance away, traffic and other factors.

On another page, DoorDash describes its payment structure as follows: $1 plus customer tip plus pay boost, which varies based on the complexity of order, distance to restaurants and other factors. It’s only when a customer doesn’t tip at all, which DoorDash told Fast Company happens about 15 percent of the time, that DoorDash is on the hook to pay the entire guaranteed amount.

Here’s an example of what Dashers see:

“DoorDash doesn’t show workers what part of the ‘guarantee’ is from tip and what part is from DoorDash,” Sage Wilson of labor organization Working Washington told TechCrunch in an email. “(Instacart’s old policy did show this, which is why it was easier to demonstrate.) So that’s exactly where their “transparency” stops— at the point when it’s clear they’re taking tips.”

And just because DoorDash is upfront about parts of its practice, it doesn’t mean drivers are okay with it. There’s a webpage, Reddit and Subreddits that all describe DoorDash’s practices.

On the website, No Tip Doordash, it states:

While the tip may technically be going to the driver, it is only replacing the normal delivery pay. Your tip saves doordash money, and it is not increasing the drivers pay. Please tip in cash, if available.

In a statement to Bloomberg, DoorDash said it implemented this policy to “ensure that Dashers are more fairly compensated for every delivery.”

This comes shortly after Instacart apologized and announced it would stop engaging in that practice. In a blog post last week, Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta said all shoppers will now have a guaranteed higher base compensation, paid by Instacart. Depending on the region, Instacart says it will pay shoppers between $7 to $10 at a minimum for full-service orders (shopping, picking and delivering) and $5 at a minimum for delivery-only tasks. The company will also stop including tips in its base pay for shoppers.

Amazon also reportedly engages in this practice, according to The Los Angeles Times.

I’ve reached out to DoorDash and will update this story if I hear back.

This story has been updated to reflect comments from Working Washington organizer Sage Wilson.

10 Ways to Design a Happy Life in the Business World

Jim Rohn once said, “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it’s something you design for the present.” But how did he design a happy life?

That’s all well and good. But, isn’t that easier said than done – especially when there are daily roadblocks preventing you from becoming the happy individual that you want to be?

Turns out Rohn was pretty spot on as long as you take the reins and design your happy life.

Want to Design a Happy Life? Start by Implementing These 10 tips.

1. Do a Happiness Audit.

Paul Dolan, is a professor at the London School of Economics, a government policy advisor and one of the world’s leading happiness scholars.

Dr Dolan suggests that instead of focusing on your daily happiness levels, your take one day a week or month to observe yourself. “It’s about tuning in to what you are doing, who you are doing it with and how it makes you feel,” Dolan tells Fast Company.

“How much worry, stress, anger, joy or contentment do you experience on a given day?” After his audit, Dolan noticed that he got more pleasure out of listening to music on his commute than checking his emails or listening to a podcast.

This wasn’t obvious to him, but now he walks out of his with a playlist loaded on his phone.

It may at first appear like a small change, but these happiness audits could lead to bigger changes, such as recognizing that you’re unhappy at work or in your current relationship.

By conducting a happiness audit you actually confront what’s making you unhappy head-on instead of ignoring it.

2. Create an Inspiring Physical Space.

One of the easiest places to start when designing a happy life is with your physical space. Take for example your work environment.

Aren’t you less stressed and more motivated when your workspace is clean, organized, comfortable, and decorated with plants and pictures of your family?

The same idea applies to your personal life. Plants, the right paint color, and natural light can help improve our mental status.

You also want to have items, such as books, inspiring quotes, and visual elements like painting and pictures, that put a smile on your face whenever you see walk by.

3. Savor Sleep.

According to the CDC, an estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder. That’s a serious concern since sleep deficiency can result in everything from falling asleep while driving to increased risk of heart disease. Added to that is kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke, to impairing how you learn to depression.

Simply put, if you want to have a healthy, then you need to make sure that you’re getting between 6-8 hours of quality sleep each night.

You can get a better night’s sleep by:

  • Sticking to a sleep schedule.
  • Getting in sync with your circadian rhythm.
  • Avoiding bright screens before sleep.
  • Exercising during the day.
  • Not eating or drinking alcohol before bed.
  • Sleeping in a dark and cool room – preferably between between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Help Others.

As noted by Jenny Santi in Time, there is a Chinese that states: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. You want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Turns out that old saying is true. Helping others definitely makes you happier.

Research has found that “that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness.” In fact, thanks to MRI technology, “we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex.” And, experiments have also found “that altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it’s pleasurable.”

To make sure that you get the most out of helping others first find your passion. For some it may be volunteering at a homeless shelter, for others it may be tutoring children. It can be whatever you deeply care about.

After that, schedule in the time to give back, integrate your interests and skills with the needs of others, and only donate to reputable and transparent organizations.

5. Surprise Yourself.

Have you put on a coat or jacket, put your hand in a pocket, and found a $20? You’re pretty stoked about that, right?

We all enjoy a little surprise every now and then. And, believe it or not, there are ways that we can surprise ourselves.

For example, you could set random calendar notes that contain a short positive note or inspirational message several weeks in advance.

You could also order yourself a gift in the distant future, and by the time it arrives, you totally forgot about it.

Or give someone important to you a surprise gift, call, or visit. Their excitement of the unexpected gift is contagious and will stick to you.

6. Be Grateful.

As stated in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Even better? This mental state grows stronger with use and practice.

You can start to cultivate gratitude today by:

  • Writing a thank-you note at least once a month to someone that has impacted your life.
  • Thanking someone mentally, aka just thinking about someone who has done something nice for you.
  • Keeping a gratitude journal where you write down what gifts you appreciative for the day.
  • Prayer can also be used to cultivate gratitude.
  • Mindfulness meditation helps you focus, and appreciate, the present.

7. Focus On What Makes You Miserable

This may seem counterproductive, but it’s effective – according to Randy J. Paterson, a clinical psychologist and author of How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use. “Between the influences of our culture, our physiology, and our psychology,” Paterson writes, “it appears that striving for happiness is a tiring matter; we’re swimming against a powerful current. We might almost say that happiness in such circumstances is unnatural.”

However, if you’re aware of our own detrimental habits, we can then open up new and discover helpful behavioral pathways. Patterson tells NYMag that this is effective because, “The path upward and the path downward are usually part of the same mental terrain. So if you can isolate the things that you do that would make you feel worse — like continuing a behavior that doesn’t help you — then you can similarly isolate the things that will make you feel better.”

He adds, “Another reason this method is effective is that people can recognize they’re not as miserable as they could possibly be. That realization can be very powerful. It can give a sense of hope.”

8. Chose Who You Spend Time With.

Since emotions are contagious, the people you spend time have the ability to either raise or squander your energy and positivity. In short, choose who you spend time with wisely.

Instead of hanging out with people who only complain or who are just miserable, spend time with those who are upbeat, supportive, and inspiring.

Since you probably can’t be with them 24/7, at least be proactive and try to have quality times with them at least a couple of times a week.

9. Find a Career That’s Fulfilling.

The key here is that you find a career/job that fits your individual personality, lifestyle, and passion, as opposed to pleasing the external world. I get it. We all have bills that have to get paid. But technology has made this a reality.

That’s why so many people are opting to ditch the 9-to-5 grind and start freelancing, driving for Uber, or working only until they’re side business takes-off. In fact, it’s anticipated that by 2020 43% of the workforce will be made-up of freelancers.

10. Be Deliberate With Your Time.

Finally, in order to design a happy life you have to more deliberate with your time. It’s easy to fall into a routine. But sometimes that’s not for the best.

Instead of watching TV for 2 hours a night after dinner, read motivational books, exercise, volunteer, or learn a new hobby or skill. It takes some dedication and discipline, but all of the examples listed will help you grow as an individual, which as a result, will make you happier.

What if you believe you don’t have the time? Get creative, like reading on your morning commute or doing an office workout during your lunch break.

Don’t over-stuff your schedule with too many commitments. Learn how to say “no.” And, make the time to enjoy the small things – like the initial smell a cup of coffee.

How have you learned to design a happy life in your own life?

The post 10 Ways to Design a Happy Life in the Business World appeared first on KillerStartups.

Google expands partnership with Founder Gym to support underrepresented founders

Google for Startups has expanded a partnership with startup training program Founder Gym to better serve underrepresented founders through a new scholarship program.

The program typically charges $396 to participate, but thanks to this partnership with Google for Startups, Google will cover the costs for select scholarship recipients to participate in the six-week program. This partnership is an extension of a pilot program that started last March.

“Google for Startups took an early bet on Founder Gym when we were less than six months old, and as any founder knows, you never forget the first people to say ‘yes’ to your dream,” Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon said in a statement.

“Our team at Founder Gym has used that early vote of confidence to help fuel our efforts to train a groundbreaking number of founders around the world in our inaugural year.”

Founder Gym, co-founded by Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon and Gabriela Zamudio,* unveiled its online platform in November 2017 to support and train underrepresented founders building tech startups.

“We are deeply committed to supporting the growth and success of underrepresented founders,” Google for Startups VP Lisa Gevelber said in a statement. “At Google we know that innovation can come from anywhere, but the resources needed to succeed are not evenly distributed. Founder Gym is truly moving the needle in this space – their unique program delivers the tangible resources necessary to level the playing field for founders and help them grow their businesses.”

Instead of describing it as a school, bootcamp or incubator, Founder Gym describes itself as a topical, six-week training program that covers topics like fundraising, pitching, user growth and problem validation. In Founder Gym’s first 12 months of operation, its cohort has collectively raised $35 million in funding.

“As we enter year two of this journey, we couldn’t be more excited to expand our partnership with Google for Startups, an organization that has a long history of supporting the entrepreneur’s journey,” Schumacher-Hodge Dixon said. “There is no doubt in my mind, this partnership will help us achieve our mission of developing the next generation of great innovators and leaders.”

Update 3:14 pm: This story has been edited to reflect the fact that Zamudio is no longer at Founder Gym. 

The 5 Best WordPress Cache Plugins – (Winter 2019 Review)

How fast is your website?

You might think your website is fast — but how fast is fast enough? You may be surprised that 47% of Internet users expect web pages to load in two seconds or less and they mean it: 40% of people will abandon websites that don’t load within three seconds.

That’s right. A second could cost you 40% of your website traffic.

To put that number into perspective, we’ll go through a hypothetical example. Let’s say your website has 1,000 unique visitors per week. You have a 5% conversion rate (which is generous, considering the average global conversion rate for an ecommerce website is 2.86%), and your average order value is $100.

This translates to $5,000 per week and $260,000 per year. Not bad, right?

But if your website took longer than 3 seconds to load, you’d lose 40% of that traffic, and you’d actually earn $104,000 less than that.

Let’s look at the other way. Imagine you have that same website: 1,000 unique visitors per week, a 5% conversion rate, but your load time is 3 seconds. If you improved your load time, you might capture 40% more visitors. If everything stayed the same, you’d suddenly have 1,667 visitors (since you’d originally had that many but 40% jumped ship when they didn’t want to wait). If they still convert at 5%, then that means you’re making an additional $3,335 in sales per week, or $173,420 a year in sales you were losing because your load time was too slow.

Depending on your volume, slow loading times could be costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Here’s something else to consider: of the 40% of visitors who abandon your site, 80% of those people won’t return.

Fortunately, there’s a way for you to speed up your website loading times. What’s the solution? Caching.

What is caching?

Let’s start with the basics. A request to your server is required each time someone visits a page on your site. The server sends those results to the user’s web browser.

On the user’s end, they see your website as the final product. Your website is complete with things like headers, menus, images, videos, blog content, and everything else that makes your site unique.

The server needs to process each request before delivering the final page to the user. Depending on the complexity of your website, sometimes this can take a long time.

That’s where caching comes into the equation. Caching stores recently viewed content, such as a web page, so server requests won’t be as in depth.

Here’s a visual representation of what caching looks like.

What Caching Looks Like

Simply put, caching means less work is required for pages to be viewed on your website. As a result, your site will load much faster.

Why do you need a WordPress caching plugin?

Without a WordPress caching plugin, requests for every element of your website need to be made to the server each time someone visits your site, even if they’ve seen the content before.

A caching plugin will:

  • Speed up your website
  • Increase the user experience
  • Reduce the strain on your server
  • Improve SEO
  • Lower your TTFB (time to first byte)

Caching plugins will generate a static HTML page of your site, which will be saved on your server. Whenever someone visits your site, the plugin will display the lighter HTML version as opposed to the heavy PHP scripts.

There are tons of caching plugins out there that claim to speed up your website. How can you possibly know which one to install? Truthfully, it’s nearly impossible to determine which plugin is the fastest. Depending on the website content, what works for one site may not work as well for another. With that said, there are definitely certain caching plugins that stand above the rest. I took the time to identify the best WordPress cache plugins for you to consider.

1. W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache

With more than one million active installs, W3 Total Cache is one of the most popular WordPress cache plugins on the market.

W3 Total Cache is an open-source plugin, which is completely free to use. A free install gives you access to all of the features, and you won’t be pitched any upsells after the fact.

I included this on my list of best WordPress cache plugins because it offers minifications that save bandwidth, HTTP compression, as well as feed optimization.

This plugin works for both mobile and desktop versions of your website. W3 Total Cache integrates with your website’s CDN. It’s also helpful for sites with SSL certificates, making it a top choice for ecommerce websites.

You should keep in mind that W3 Total Cache can be a bit complex to use. Even though it’s a popular choice, it may not be the best option for WordPress beginners. There are 16 pages in the settings section of this plugin, for example. However, you won’t have to manually configure all of these options. The default settings work well right out of the box. So unless you’re a developer who has lots of experience with these options, I’d recommend sticking to the defaults.

If you want that type of added customization, there is a separate setting for each type of caching. You can have different settings for things like:

  • Object caching
  • Page caching
  • Browser caching
  • Database caching

The list goes on and on. It’s tough to find this type of in-depth customization for free on other WordPress cache plugins.

2. WP Rocket

WP Rocket

WP Rocket has the simplest design of all cache plugins for WordPress. You won’t have any problems installing this plugin and getting it set up quickly. The overall simplicity of WP Rocket is what makes it one of the best WordPress cache plugins, which is why it’s great for beginners.

With that said, WP Rocket also has advanced settings that can be customized by developers or site owners who have a bit more technical knowledge.

Pricing starts at $49 per year for one website. WP Rocket also has a developer plan that’s $249 annually for unlimited sites.

I know what some of you are thinking, Why should I pay for this when there are so many free WordPress cache plugins available?

Simply put, you get what you pay for. For $50 per year, I’d rather have a plugin with an easy setup and smooth interface. Plus, WP Rocket comes with extra features that you won’t find in free cache plugins. It indexes your website on search engines to help improve your SEO ranking and all JavaScript, HTML, and CSS files get minified to boost page loading speed. Another benefit of this plugin is the “images on request” feature. This means that images only get loaded when they are visible on the screen. So if you have pages with lots of images deeper in the scroll, they won’t be loaded initially. This dramatically improves your loading time. This plugin also helps optimize your Google Fonts, which is something that’s not offered by most cache plugins I’ve used.

Overall, WP Rocket is one of the best WordPress cache plugins for beginners and experienced developers alike.

3. WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache has more than two million active installations. I’m not saying you should always follow what other people are doing, but numbers this high are usually a pretty good indication of quality.

This plugin is completely free as well. So it’s a great option if you’re hesitant about spending money on a WordPress plugin.

WP Super Cache creates static HTML files and displays them instead of heavier PHP scripts. The plugin offers three different modes of caching:

  • Simple
  • Expert
  • WP-cache caching

Most of you can get away with using simple mode. You’ll need a custom permalink, but this option is much easier to configure and doesn’t require you to change your .htaccess file. The majority of web pages will still be dynamic in simple caching mode.

As you might have guessed, expert mode is a bit more complex. Unless you’re experienced with coding and web development, I would not recommend this setting to you. It requires an Apache mod_rewrite module as well as modifications to your .htaccess file. If you don’t know what you’re doing, improper modifications of these files can be detrimental to your website.

WP-cache caching mode is used to cache content for known website visitors. This is ideal for those of you who have users who are logged in, leave comments, or need to be shown custom content.

If you don’t want to things to get too complicated, you can always just stick with simple mode, but the fact that WP Super Cache has so many other options makes it one of the best WordPress caching plugins.

4. Hyper Cache

Hyper Cache

Hyper Cache was designed with WordPress blogs in mind. It will work on every blog, without any complex configurations. Hyper Cache optimizes your bandwidth and ultimately boosts the page loading speed of your WordPress blog.

You can install Hyper Cache with ease and the process is very fast. I’d say this is one of the best WordPress cache plugins for users who are beginners and don’t want to manage tons of different cache settings. With this plugin, you can implement the “set it and forget it” mentality. So once you have it installed, you don’t have to do much of anything after the initial configuration.

You’ll notice that some of the settings may have some odd names that you’re unfamiliar with but Hyper Cache comes provides recommendations and detailed information about which should be activated and how each setting impacts your website.

Like some of the other options on our list, Hyper Cache is free. It offers CDN support and has mobile-friendly caching as well. It’s a great tool to have for those of you who have blogs with lots of comments.

Something that I found interesting about Hyper Cache is the way that this plugin completes website backups. The cache folders aren’t included in your backups, meaning the backup files will be smaller and save you space.

While this plugin should be a top consideration for WordPress bloggers, I wouldn’t recommend it for more complex sites, such as ecommerce platforms. If you fall into that category, you’d be better off with a more advanced plugin from this list.

5. Comet Cache

Comet Cache

Comet Cache has a quick and easy installation process. Once installed, you’ll find that the navigation on the dashboard is extremely user friendly.

I like this plugin because it’s so informative. You’ll find tons of resources that will tell you everything there is to know about caching. This will help you configure the settings to optimize the performance of your own WordPress site.

You’ll have plenty of different options for caching with Comet Cache:

  • Pages
  • Posts
  • Tags
  • Categories

If you’re looking for simple customization, this plugin is definitely one that you should consider. The ability to cache users who are logged in makes Comet Cache a top option for membership websites.

Comet Cache has both free and paid versions. Most of you can probably get away with the free WordPress plugin, but the paid upgrades offer better features. If you upgrade your plugin, you’ll have the option for automatic and intelligent cache clearing. Basically, this feature allows you to configure all of your settings from the beginning, and then have a “hands-free” approach moving forward.


Installing a WordPress cache plugin will boost your website speed and improve the user experience. Now that we’ve established why caching plugins are important, the question becomes, Which is the best WordPress cache plugin?

It depends what you’re looking for. Some plugins are designed for ecommerce websites, while others are intended for WordPress blogs. Some cache plugins are made for beginners, while others have more complex settings for advanced developers.

Do you want a free WordPress cache plugin? Or are you looking for a paid version?

Based on all of this information, I narrowed down my list to the top five options to consider. There is something for everyone on this list, based on the type of website you have, your technical experience, and the type of settings you want to apply. Use this guide as a reference to help you find the best WordPress cache plugin for your website.