It is no longer a hidden truth that engineering curriculum does not keep many students interested and they find an escape into varied things. One such engineer who spent more of his time in front of the laptop and was seen lesser in classrooms was Hitesh Malviya, a B.Tech IT student who would escape whenever he could to follow his interest in learning ethical hacking. First he started blogging about it first and then started an ethical hacking forum named Hindustan Cyber Force in August 2010, which he had to subsequently discontinue because of some ISP disputes.
In the final year of college after the forum was forced to shut down, Hitesh along with his friend Neeraj Dhiman, decided to start up an IT security firm and started generating capital for it by conducting ethical hacking workshops and seminars in engineering colleges. And today within two years of starting, HCF Information and Security Pvt. Ltd., it has six subsidiaries offering security audit, cyber crime investigation, digital security, hosting services, IT security trainings etc.
Reminiscing the starting days, Hitesh says, “I was the driver, peon, salesman and also the CEO of our startup. In August 2012 we finally got decent number of clients and revenues and expanded our team to 10. There was a great competition in market for ethical hacking training companies and we could see it.” The two 2012 graduates and now the co-founders of the company knew what they wanted to do, but were not too sure of the different aspects of how the business works. Neeraj says, “When we started, we did not know how to register our company. We had almost no formal knowledge of how to manage finances. Hiring was always difficult and even today it is the biggest challenge.”
Currently bootstrapped and with a team of 35+, the startup is working with more than 30 companies. HCF generates major percentage of its revenue from its information security audit services. They have recently started focusing on penetration testing and have also got a project from a Malaysian corporate for the same.
HCF has now launched a franchise model too and are aiming to open 50+ branches by the end of the year. With increasing services and franchise model in place, they are currently focusing on building a strong marketing team. A majority of their clients are based in Northern India, but now the duo plan to expand their service offerings to the entire country.