Sequretek, A cyber security company co-founded by Anand Naik and Pankit Desai creates better visibility, protection and response without the complexity in Cyber Defense.
A Brief Note on Sequretek and its growth story?
Cyber Security industry from a customer’s point of view can be divided in the world of have’s and have not’s – where the Top 10% has access to everything whilst the rest have to make do without much of any. As they say the industry is for, by and to the elite.
If you look at any technology, it goes through a curve where there is complexity in the beginning and over a period of time it becomes simple and commoditized. Security industry is going the other way where every year new technology areas emerge in response to new threats instead of enhancing existing technologies, the result is 90 technology areas and 3500 different companies make security amongst the most fragmented markets in the tech space. All these options make the life of Have-nots difficult since they do not have the resources to understand the what, why, when and how of their needs. There is way too much buyer’s remorse and consequential churn here.
Sequretek was born in 2013, therefore, with a vision “to simplify security by consolidating the technology landscape” and mission “to empower our customer’s growth without fear as their trusted security partner by simplifying security”. The key words here are removing fear attached security threats linked to the digital transformation that has become essential for our customer’s growth and the fact that we will make security simple and accessible to them as their trusted partner.
Tell us everything about your company, what does it do? What were the challenges of setting up and scale? How did you overcome them?
We started off as a security services company having its Headquarters at Mumbai. We initially provided Security Operations Center (SOC) services to enterprises wherein we helped enterprises in security monitoring and management, and also provided services to manage 3rd party security software & devices. We gradually set-up our Malware & Research Lab and our AI Research Lab, launched our products for Access Governance- Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) and our Endpoint Security Product- Endpoint Detection, Protection and Response (EDPR). It’s been a great journey since our incorporation in 2013. Sequretek today, is the only cyber-security company in India and one amongst the very few who have their own end to end cyber-security products in the space of Endpoint Security, Access Governance, Threat Intelligence, Security Monitoring and Management.
We have strategic partnerships with the leading global chipset manufacturers for both mobile and laptop industries. We’ve recently got our endpoint security product benchmarked and certified, by the renowned, ICSA Labs, USA for Advanced Threat Defense where we successfully achieved a detection rate of over 99.24% against less known and unknown malware and a 100% detection rate against ransomware.
Talking about the challenges, building a company from scratch always comes with its own set of challenges. No doubt we also did face certain challenges. Whether in terms of finding a voice for ourselves in the crowded market which was dominated by biggies, or identifying the right talent who could become part of our product centric journey or raising capital at the right moments to meet our growth aspiration. A common denominator for all of the challenges above is to create trust with the constituents who you are dealing with. The founders bring certain credibility in the industry that formed the nucleus around which a strategy for addressing each of the challenges was formed, our initial customers came through our personal connects and relationship. As far as people are concerned, most of our management team comprises of individuals with whom we have some common connect, this allowed us to ensure that the ethos of founders is widely shared and they in turn ensured that the larger team gets built with the same ethos.
Give us a background of your core team along with the total strength of Sequretek
We today have more than 350 people working for Sequretek spanning across Mumbai, Delhi & Bengaluru in India and New Jersey in US Regions. Our management team is a unique blend of very experienced resources who bring complementary skills that are required to succeed in this deeply competitive market-place.
Anand Naik and I, are a family and have known each other for more than 30 years and now hold lead the company being co-founders. Anand has been working in this corporate world for more than 25 years and is responsible for the product vision and operations at Sequretek. He has been the MD- South Asia for Symantec and held technology roles with IBM and Sun Microsystems. And I have had 25+ years of experience in global sales, operations with Rolta (President), NTT(SVP) and IBM(Country Manager). Each of the members in our leadership team have nearly three decades of experience and are the people with whom we have worked closely and with whom we share a bond of trust and loyalty. Arun Rathi is a member of our board and is our Chief Financial Officer responsible for finance, admin and back office functions. Our product strategy and execution is taken care by Santhosh George, who is our Chief Products and Technology Officer. Our Head of Operations and Malware Research, Commander Subhash Dutta was earlier responsible for Indian Navy’s Information Warfare Group. Udayanathan Vettikat is Head of Channels, Sales and Marketing.
We are also advised and mentored by our investors, Gujarat Ventures Finance Limited (GVFL) and Unicorn Ventures India and our advisors Dr. Gulshan Rai, who was India’s first National Cyber Security Council Secretariat and has led India’s cyber security response unit CERT-IN.
What is the business model of Sequretek and how does it work?
We have Direct Sales in the India specifically in the cities Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore and New Jersey in US. We have an Indirect Sales Channel for rest of the world. We have also started exploring the distributor, reseller model for regions like Africa, Middle East, North American Regions.
Some of our milestones are:
1) Our product, Sequretek EDPR got benchmarked & certified by renowned ICSA Labs, USA for Advanced Threat Defense. (Capable of detecting more than 99% of unknown malware & 100% of ransomware) – 2019
2) Selected for Stanford SEED Program for Business Transformation – 2018-19
3) Strategic Partnerships with Intel Corporation & Qualcomm
Recognitions & Awards:
1) Security Product Company of the Year 2019 by Data Security Council of India (DSCI) at the Annual Information Security Summit, a NASSCOM Initiative
2) One of the Top SME, by GreatCompanies.in – 2019
3) Best MSME of the Year 2019, by CISO Mag (EC-Council, world’s largest security training organization) – 2019
4) Top 4 Enterprise Startups, Enterprise IT World – 2019
5) Runner’s up at the Ingram Micro Comet Competition – 2019
6) Top 50 Innovators, by World Innovation Congress – 2018
7) Game Changing Startup, by EC-Council – 2018
What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors and what’s your revenue model?
Our products offer cutting edge technology solutions (with inbuilt AI) for next generation threats. Combination of Sequretek EDPR and IGA along with MDR gives enterprises a consolidated view of their enterprise security with supreme ability to Detect, Manage and Respond to next generation threats.
Our competitors majorly are legacy players who offer traditional solutions, and some next generation players who have multiple point solutions for different purpose.
We simplify Cyber-security through our easy to use, implement and manageable products, lower the Total Cost of Ownership for enterprises, focus on Research & Development as we always need to stay relevant to the market and provide personalized attention to our clients.
Our Revenue Model:
We follow a subscription based model for all of our products. Our endpoint security product is sold on a per device/per endpoint subscription for a period of 12 months, post which the enterprise will have to renew the subscription. Similarly, our access governance product is sold on a per user basis and our product for security monitoring and management is charged on the number of log sources / critical devices irrespective of their device type. We also provide services across these security products so that it becomes easier for enterprises to manage and make the optimum use of security products.
What were the challenges you faced during your journey and how did you overcome them?
The journey over the last six years hasn’t been without its ups and downs. Cyber security industry is seeing a new generation of players every few years. Lot of churn happens in this industry. If you are around for a long time, you become jaded. So a new company coming in with fresh thinking, there is space to grow. Being nimble is our differentiator.
The biggest challenge that Anand and I faced as founders of Sequretek was to sell to new-age companies. Attracting talent has also been a challenge at times. We hire a lot of freshers and make them cybersecurity professionals in around three months. We have figured out how to make them field ready.
Being an Entrepreneur each day since last 6 years was structured in order to maximize all of the 24 hours. I prefer starting early and end up finishing late in the evening. The days too vary, in a particular week we might just bag in several awards just like we did in the month of December another day might not be as amazing as one may think. Also entrepreneurship enforces me to wear different hats, from marketing, to sales, to human resources to a spokesperson. There is a different happiness that I get after interacting with people, that’s what keeps me motivated to work throughout the day.
I personally prefer to start the day with difficult and taxing tasks so that the rest of the day seems to be easier. In scenarios where work demands more amount of time to be invested, it is your family and friends that support you. I am lucky to have continual support from both my friends and family members as they understand the purpose of me investing time in the business. We have off and on small breaks, wherein we relax and dedicate some of our time to family. And then Mumbai traffic is courteous enough to give me some time for myself where I listen to music, read books and love to stay updated with current affairs during my travel.
How are you funded?
We’ve closed 2 rounds of funding.
1 Million USD Led by GVFL – 2017
4 Million USD Led by Unicorn Ventures Limited – 2018
What are the services offered to the customers?
Cyber-security has forever been “for the elite, by the elite and to the elite”. By elite, we mean that the skill-set required for understanding cyber security needs deep knowledge, money required for purchasing these solutions was only feasible for companies having deep pockets and apart from the above, you need to be a recognized brand which is based out at a metro city. We wanted to democratize cyber security irrespective to their size of businesses, such that the small organizations too can access the same services that the industry giants do. To make this a success, Sequretek started off with a mission “to empower your growth without fear as your trusted partner by simplifying security”.
Though we provide services to Industry giants in the market today, our focused target market is small to medium sized organizations. Our major customer base consists of SME’s having 500 to 10,000 employees. Earlier these smaller organizations were not in a position to get serviced, get security credibility similar to that of a large organization. We are making security accessible to them, democratizing security so that they get the best security at the price that they can afford.
We help enterprises in 3 different domains:
1) Endpoint Security, which ensures that no malicious files enter your endpoint through applications & devices (using AI and ML), and self updates to fix existing vulnerabilities
2) User Access Governance, for access management procedures and compliance reporting and
3) Managed Detection and Response, where we do predictive threat analytics, threat hunting and threat mitigation. The log monitoring is carried out on a 24*7 basis for better incident response management.
Along with the above three products, Sequretek also provides Managed Security Services around endpoint security products, incident reporting and mitigation and threat intelligence.
What is your Future plan? And how do you see your Startup in the coming years?
- In the next five years Sequretek wants to:
- Make world a better and safer place for digital interactions through delivering cutting edge security technologies
- Employ over 2,000 people. Protecting more than 2M+ endpoints across 1000 enterprises.
- Revenue in excess on USD 50 Million.
- The biggest IT security company in India and among top 100 globally.
- Sequretek will have:
- Equal opportunity employment environment
- Well defined governance model that will enable ethical business practices and sound fiscal management
- High performance culture that fosters innovation, transparency and collaboration among our employees and extended ecosystem
- Agile business processes to adapt to changing business environment
- Technology innovation will be core to Sequretek ethos. All innovations will be with an aim to simplify security for enterprises and consumers, thus creating safe experiences in digital economies.
Finally your advice for Budding Entrepreneurs?
There will be failures in your journey as an entrepreneur, but entrepreneurship is more about how quickly you learn from your failures. I too have failed, but I don’t remember any of the failures which did not teach me a lesson. From my point of view, having a co-founder with you, having a person who has spent a considerate amount of his time in that specific industry that you choose to dive in will ease your task as an entrepreneur. There are enough mentors available in industry who have experience and have actually built startups, from whom you could advise help. I too will be happy to guide any of the individuals reading this article.