Sequretek is a cybersecurity firm which is helping organisations to focus on their main motive instead of worrying about cyber attacks. The company use AI for the most part of its work, hence boosting their productivity and lowering down the expenses. There is a lot of hustle and inspiration in the startup story of Sequretek. Here is a few of them which is shared by the co-founder of Sequretek Pankit Desai, in his own words.
Sequretek - Vision and Mission
Sequretek was founded with a single vision to simplify security and bring down the cost of ownership. Cybersecurity has always been viewed as a cost centre where a certain number of products, regular patching and updates are required to keep the system up and running. That was relevant at least two decades ago. With the changing digital landscape, evolution of cyber attacks into more complex form, companies are now worried and at the same time clueless about upping the ante of their cyber defence.
Many of them are still following the old school thought where they are buying the most sophisticated products. They don’t even realise if they even need it, if it is compatible with other security products, how much bandwidth they consume of a system and if they are slowing down the entire IT architecture.
When we decided to start Sequretek in 2013, we didn’t want to follow the old narrative of pushing products down on to the customers. Plus, we wanted to build an agile system that can spot, analyse, react and protect a threat in near real-time because that is the differentiator in cybersecurity. Thus, our products are built on an AI platform, which are monitoring millions of incidents globally. At the same time, they are matching them in the Indian context to boil it down to manageable handful incidents per day. Therefore, helping organizations focus their energies on real problems and not go on a wild goose chase.
With such an approach, we hope to achieve our vision of simplifying security and driving down the cost of ownership for the enterprises.
Sequretek - Founders
Sequretek is backed by 2 founders. Pankit Desai and Anand Naik.
Pankit has worked in senior roles in companies like Rolta, NTT Data, Wipro, Cognizant, IBM and CMC. He has worked in North America for a large part of his career selling tech products to tech companies to accelerate their design of work. In his free time, he likes to catch-up on reading especially global affairs, world events as well as watching some good content on Netflix.
Anand is a cyber security specialist who has worked with market leaders in this segment for over 2 decades. He has worked with companies like Symantec, IBM and Sun Microsystems. He is a voracious reader and likes to stay abreast of contemporary topics, besides being a complete family man.
Sequretek - The Idea
My co-founder Anand Naik and I were discussing to take the plunge for a few years. Both of us were working in senior leadership roles, running large teams, accountable for profitability for a big chunk of business. Our leadership role gave us a sneak peak into the world of running a sustainable business, prepared us for ups and downs and toughed us up. But still giving up a well-paying job especially when you have family responsibility is never an easy decision. Having a co-founder with whom you can build a common vision and then have a core team that joins you on the journey makes the decision a bit more manageable.
Since both of us come from the tech industry, we were clear that we wanted to start a business in our domain. Cybersecurity emerged as a natural choice since Anand has been working in this segment for over two decades. Before launching Sequretek, he was in India, working as Saarc head for Symantec.
Sequretek - Name and logo
A few years into our journey, we had reached a point where we were confident that we are on the right track. The whole point was to simplify security and tell enterprises to take control of their cyber destiny rather than attackers taking control of it. With this thought process, we also decided to redesign our logo which should give out this messaging. Our new logo was unveiled in Oct 2018 amid top cybersecurity honchos and Gulshan Rai, Cyber Security Chief, India.
The Q in the logo is like a knob on any control, but on careful observation there’s no limit stopper at its base, mimicking the highest level /potential of a given machine. Going against the grain of traditional thinking in security that correlates security with restriction.
Secondly, it denotes power button, signifying the connected world that we look to protect.
The color orange cuts across the world as a color of culture and traditions which is sacred and a serious matter to anyone using it. This is one color that moves nations, builds bond of trust with undeniable assurance.
For Sequretek, its “Security” products and solutions are in its tradition and ethos of the company, helping the organization with its products and solutions to address serious traditional approaches by way of a new religion as far as digital security goes.
Sequretek- The product and service
Sequretek offers its customers best in class products and services which help them keep their guard up 24/7 to fight off any potential cyber attack. Our range of products include
IGA: Sequretek’s IGA (Identity Governance and Administration) is an access governance product for enterprises. IGA is used for defining access as per various parameters of employees, their managerial seniority, job profile location-based access etc. The primary challenge it looks to address is ensuring that for every individual (employee /contractor) that exists in the company access to any technology privilege such as applications, shared folders, printers, network, internet is commensurate with the role, and any change in the role which should have an impact on the privilege would be addressed immediately.
EDPR: This is recent launch from Sequretek. EDPR is an end point detection, protection and response product launched in Oct 2018 for enterprises. This product is built on an AI platform. When we started working on this product, in the end point security space, a single desktop needs 8 products to secure data loss. In an enterprise scenario where there are multiple end points, the complexity increases multifold. With the digital transformation wave and the choice of accessing same info from multiple devices, we identified a market gap in the end point security space. EDPR comes with the features of 7 — 8 products rolled into one. Features like anti-virus, anti-phishing, app whitelisting backed by AI helps the product learn and evolve to identify new kinds of threats too. This makes it possible for SMEs and even large enterprise to secure end nodes in a cost effective and less complex manner at the same time have a product which responds to potential threats in near real time
MDR: Managed Detection and Response (MDR) is our most evolved offering which is fast becoming need of the hour for companies across the globe. The ever-increasing threats either in form of corporate espionage, state-sponsored cyber attack or just a bunch of hackers trying to steal info to sell in black market, has awakened many companies to come up with a security strategy where a threat can be identified before it causes damage and also that its monitoring should be near real time. For achieving both these goals, Machine Language and Deep learning backed products can be a potential solution. In our Company, we have created an in house malware lab, where 50 odd data scientists monitor 20 — 25 crore incidents on a daily basis across the globe using ML and deep learning. They use it to match those incidents to see similar patterns emerging in our client’s environment to identify a potential threat. If we see a red flag, a technical advisory is sent to our clients and our people on site to patch the leakage if any.
Sequretek - Acquiring initial customers
We have been lucky to be blessed to call some of the most marquee names in the industry as our customers. Both Anand and I have worked with companies that have sold to large enterprises as part of careers prior to Sequretek. This gave us unparalleled access to the buyer community in these companies and also credibility based on our past interactions with them. It was this personal credibility and integrity of the individuals involved I believe, got us the initial wins. Our ability then to execute on this helped create a momentum that has got us today to the stage where we have been able to create a momentum for growth.
Sequretek - Growth
Sequretek is growing at about 70%-80% year-on-year and growth has more than doubled from last year. For the next three years, it aims to continue to double its growth rate at 100%. We have already started international expansion with our office in the US to target the North American market and with plans expanding into other geographies viz. Europe, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa and rest of the world, in the next few years.
Sequretek - Business model Explained
We are in the B2B space and whilst security is industry agnostic, by the nature of the problem we address it is natural to find the most demand for what we do in the financial services sector.
Sequretek - Revenue model
In the recent past, we find the coverage needs coming from pharma, retail, logistics, manufacturing and services segments as well. Our approach till recently has been that of direct customer acquisition both in India and North America, but with the scale up we have started building out the indirect partner led ecosystem as well.
Additionally, preferred revenue model is subscription base, and today we track upwards of 80% retention rates in our subscription business.
Sequretek - Major challenges faced
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 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. As far as people are concerned, most of our management team comprises of individuals with whom we have some common connection. This allowed us to ensure that the ethos of founders is widely shared, they in turn ensured that the larger team gets built with the same ethos.
According to the latest report by Markets and Markets, cyber security industry is expected to touch close to $300 billion by 2023 and is currently growing at over 10%. As per their forecasts from 2017 to 2023, in 2019, the market size is expected to be over $160 billion. The factors triggering this growth are strict data protection laws being implemented, rising cyber terrorism and the growing needs of SMEs to store data in the Cloud giving rise to cloud-based cybersecurity solutions.
Sequretek - Funding
We raised a pre-series A in 2017 from GVFL partners and Unicorn India Ventures. Recently, we raised a bridge round of Rs 27 crore from existing investors and Sharad Sanghi of NetMagic. The funds raised in this round are being used for international product benchmarking and expansion into new markets outside India.
Sequretek - Competitors
Cybersecurity is a big market where different players differentiate themselves on the basis of their core offering. In this context, our core offering is simplifying security and driving down the cost of ownership. We believe our positioning and tech innovation being worked in the house has helped us stay ahead of many of our peers. In all our offerings there are legacy players who have been around for a long time and have been solving the problem in a very set way. They are being challenged by newbies who have become the disruptors. We would like to think of ourselves as one such disruptor who brings that differential thinking and offering to the market.
Sequretek - Future Plans
We are currently in the midst of foraying into the North American markets. The goal is to set up operations in the American markets which is the world’s biggest cybersecurity playground. This will be followed by expansion to other geographies.
Sequretek - The Team
Sequretek is a strong team of 300 + employees. Along with the founders Anand Naik and Pankit Desai, many other people are the reason of the growth of the company. To name some of them, Arun rathi is the CFO, Perverz Goiporia is the CTO, Deepali Mistry is the head of marketing and Vandana Chimanpure handles the HR department.
Sequretek - Advisors and Mentors
First and foremost our investors and board members are our biggest mentors and advisors. Their industry experience and access is something that we have always leaned upon. Beyond this, we have a very strong set of industry mentors folks such as Dr. Gulshan Rai (NSCS), Sharad Sanghi (founder NetMagic) as well as industry leaders including some of our customers who have taken an active part in helping us ensure that we always stay on the right track from a thought process perspective.
Sequretek - How do you maintain an awesome work culture?
Besides an open door policy that we follow it is important that employees perceive organization as a fair employer who cares about them. Fairness in all our dealings, transparency in our processes and empathy in our interactions. At Sequretek, we strive to achieve the same through various policies, procedures, and formal-informal communications.
We work on the overall employee development both professional and personal. We stand by them in their hour of need and celebrate in their success.
Sequretek - What do you look for while hiring?
As a young company, we are always in search of people who are committed to tech. We hire from colleges, senior resources from the industry and also have created an environment where leaders should come from within the Company. Therefore, we look for candidates who value learning, love challenges and are ready to go that extra mile. Moreover, they should be Flexible and adaptive to the fast-paced environment. Those people are preferred who want to be with us on our journey to success.
Sequretek - What do you wish someone had told you when you were 15?
In my opinion, I started my own startup journey way too late. I wish someone had told me those 3 magical words, “Do it now”.
Sequretek - Awards and Recognition
Stanford SEED program: Selected from 500+ companies from across India to create a transformation plan that can help the company scale up
Next Big Idea 2017 Winner: from 400+ companies across India, award by Canadian Government and Zone Startups
Top 100 Startups: By Centre of Research and Excellence, an initiative by Top CIOs of India
Top 50 Innovators: By world innovation council, 2018
Top 10 Fintech Startups: Fintegrate 2017
Sequretek - Contact
304, Satellite Silver, Andheri Kurla Road, Andheri. Mumbai- 400059, INDIA.
E-mail: [email protected]