Cybersecurity start-up Sequretek plans to launch North America operations

Sequretek recently raised Rs 270 million in a bridge round led by venture capital firm Unicorn India Ventures and existing investors like GVFL and Sharad Sanghi
For any fairly-sized company with both an offline and online presence, the security of its data and of customers is among its priorities.

 

Pankit Desai and Anand Naik, who have spent years building experience in sales and security, respectively, saw this challenge for companies as a business opportunity.  They set up Sequretek, a Mumbai-based digital security provider, in 2013 after discovering the need for simpler solutions, especially for the multiple devices employees use on premises.

 

The start-up recently raised Rs 270 million (approximately $3.7 million) in a bridge round led by Mumbai-based venture capital firm Unicorn India Ventures and existing investors like GVFL and Sharad Sanghi. Earlier in May, the company's founders had raised an undisclosed amount from GVKL and Unicorn Ventures, apart from bootstrapping the company in 2013. In 2015, it had raised $300,000 from a clutch of investors.

Co-founders Pankit Desai and Anand Naik

 

Concept

 

Sequretek develops security solutions for segments such as digital identity management, threat protection platform, and security analytics for enterprises in the financial, pharmaceutical, IT/ITES, retail and logistics sectors. Other companies in this space include Network Intelligence (also recently funded) and Innefu Labs. Most of these digital security solutions companies have raised fresh rounds over the past year as interest around cybersecurity grows globally.

 

Opportunity

 

In a day, Sequretek usually monitors 150 million events, ranging from cyber attacks to anomalies in user or machine behaviour.

 

“The products we offer are meant to be single-point solutions for multiple issues and they need to relevant for some years. That is why when we started building our products, we offered security services to clients in endpoint security,” said Desai.

 

Sequretek has clients primarily in the banking, financial services, insurance (BFSI), and IT sectors — most of them are mid- to large-sized businesses with an average turnover of around Rs 2.5 billion. Lately, with increased regulation and scrutiny over data protection and cybersecurity, the start-up is also witnessing interest from retail and pharma companies.

 

The company offers both subscription-based as well as product licence-based services, and has a target base of companies with over 300 users. The company’s clients include HDFC Bank, IDBI Federal Life Insurance Company, mortgage lender HDFC Ltd and commodity bourse NCDEX.

 

Operationally profitable, Sequretek has been reinvesting continuously to improve its services, the founders said.

 

Road ahead

 

“The biggest challenge for a security product/solutions company in India is to attract and retain talent” said Desai. The founder duo spent months putting together a team of experts and training people to fill this gap. Then there was the additional challenge of getting investors on board. “Funding in India is always a challenge for product companies, but thankfully our investors had faith in us,” he said.

 

Following the current round of funding, Sequretek plans to launch operations in North America. The start-up will use the fresh capital to expand its business, bring out new products and develop its go-to-market strategy in India and the United States.

 

Expert take: To crack US, European markets a challenge

Digital security is a hot area for investments: Both on the web with BOTs and on the “inside” due to errant employees.

 

India has also had its share of digital security start-ups, most of them though have fallen short of making the impact that the Israeli firms seem to do so effortlessly.

 

Sequretek looks promising with its focus on endpoint security and ransomware threats. However, its ambition to crack the all-too-critical US and European markets is going to be a challenge.

 

For an Indian benchmark comparison, I think Shieldsquare is a good study: It took that team a good couple of years to figure their product-market fit, i.e. focus on BOT threats. This is relatively greenfield and protected it from the biggies like Symantec & Checkpoint.

 

Sequretek is going to be in a head-to-head fight with these well-entrenched incumbents. If it does get over this challenge, without slipping into a “solutioning” mode where it provides a set of tools plus services on top (example, reporting), then, the opportunity graph is exponential.

 

The company plans a direct presence in New York and a product support and research and development facility in Canada. The company also seeks to hire partners to expand its market reach in the US, Desai said.

 

He also said Sequretek will benchmark its products against international standards, and has identified two premier benchmarking organisations, one each from the US and Europe, to run it.

 

“The long-term plan (over the next five years) is to expand across Europe and Asia-Pacific. But more importantly, we want to be identified as a company that simplifies security,” he added.

Expert take: To crack US, European markets a challenge 

Ravindra Krishnappa Technology entrepreneur & angel investor

Digital security is a hot area for investments: Both on the web with BOTs and on the “inside” due to errant employees.
India has also had its share of digital security start-ups, most of them though have fallen short of making the impact that the Israeli firms seem to do so effortlessly.

 
Sequretek looks promising with its focus on endpoint security and ransomware threats. However, its ambition to crack the all-too-critical US and European markets is going to be a challenge. 

 
For an Indian benchmark comparison, I think Shieldsquare is a good study: It took that team a good couple of years to figure their product-market fit, i.e. focus on BOT threats. This is relatively greenfield and protected it from the biggies like Symantec & Checkpoint.

Sequretek is going to be in a head-to-head fight with these well-entrenched incumbents. If it does get over this challenge, without slipping into a “solutioning” mode where it provides a set of tools plus services on top (example, reporting), then, the opportunity graph is exponential. 
 

 


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