Essaid grew up in Cary, North Carolina. He attended North Carolina State University. His first entrepreneurial venture was Chit Chat Communications, which he sold a year after he graduated from college. He then worked as a consultant in the mobile development industry. In April 2011 he founded Distil.it along with Engin Akyol and Andrew Stein as the first 100% cloud-based website content protection network. The name of the company was later changed to Distil Networks. In December 2012, he led a round of fundraising for $1.8 million and added $200,000 in March 2013 from AngelList’s ‘Invest’ service in less than one week. In 2012 Essaid pitched at the annual SXSW Interactive HATCH Pitch competition where he was named the winner. In 2013 he served as a judge for the competition. In December 2012 he was awarded Under30CEO: 14 Young Entrepreneurs to Watch in Washington, D.C.
Series A funding round
Distil Networks secured $10 million in Series A funding in a round led by Foundry Group and TechStars' Bullet Time Ventures, along with ff Venture Capital, IDEA Fund Partners, and Militello Capital.