After turning unicorn in June, SaaS startup Druva now eyes new growth targets
The Indian startup ecosystem has more than two dozen unicorns, with the ecosystem growing faster and faster every year. In fact, over half of these startups attained unicorn status in 2018 itself. In 2019, six startups achieved $1 billion valuation to enter the coveted the club - Dream11, Bigbasket, Ola Electric, Delhivery, Icertis, and Druva.
It took Druva 11 years to achieve this milestone. The B2B tech startup, which originated in India and is now headquartered in the US, entered the coveted club this June when it raised a Series G funding of $130 million.
Founded in 2008 by Jaspreet Singh and Milind Borate in Pune, the startup has come a long way from providing solutions for data protection and management for laptops. It is now a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company where it provides the same services - but on the cloud.
Unlike B2C startups that sometime show dizzying growth rates and equally attractive valuation, B2B companies are little less glamorous. These have more of a steady business growth, explaining Druva’s slow but steady rise, and subsequent entry into the unicorn club.
While the Indian startup ecosystem may have several unicorns, very few startups have managed to launch an IPO. Several have spoken about going public, but it looks like Druva is set take this step soon.
In a conversation with YourStory, Milind Borate, Co-founder and CTO of Druva, says, “It is a nice milestone (unicorn status) to reach but we have a long way to go.”
He says that the team has no fixed date but 2019 will be spent on readying the startup for an IPO on various fronts, including continuing on its growth path and strengthening its product-market fit.
While the listing is likely to happen in the US, there are a combination of macro and micro factors that will come into play before Druva goes public.
The IPO plan
With annual revenue run rate shy of $100 million, Druva has over 4,000 customers worldwide. It has around 700 employees of which around 400 are based in Pune.
The startup has been investing in its business and R&D to scale but is not profitable yet. The founders claim that it has been recording an annual growth rate of 50 percent and expects to maintain this momentum soon. Its focus is largely on medium to large customers, with its largest market is North America followed by Europe.
Druva’s journey has surely been challenging, especially in getting the interest of investors during the initial years. “Earlier, investors were used to Indian founders who started in the Bay Area but a startup like us was something new,” says Milind.
Truly, there has been a considerable change in the environment since then as Indian companies building products for the US or global markets is a well-established concept now.
Positive challenges ahead
Druva’s founders anticipate several challenges ahead as the startup looks to make deeper inroads into data protection and data management. Milind says, “There is explosion and diversity of data, which has kept us on our toes.”
Today, data is not generated just from a personal computer or laptop. With multiple devices comes multiple channels for data, including smartphones, internet of things (IoT) devices, surveillance cameras, connected medical devices, etc.
Druva aims to unlock the value of data and become the tool for technology like machine learning (ML). At the same time, Milind says that the team is very clearly focussed on the total cost of ownership for the customer and usability factor, which is non-negotiable.
Eventually, the startup hopes to achieve a level where its products are the standard for usability - regardless of price.
With the advent of internet and expansion of Google services, customers are now searching for products online and seek prices before procurement. They want less hand-holding and more of products that they can figure out on their own.
This is where Druva’s USP lies - simple and easy-to-use products. The startup also leveraged the SaaS model effectively, which is slowly becoming the de facto model for any software product company.
Milind claims, “We are one of the first companies in this space to offer service level agreements for our clients as we were very confident of our product.”
This meant that if there was any data breach, latency in acquiring data or any other issue, Druva would make reimburse its customers.
Technology is changing faster by the day and Druva is very aware about how it must keep itself abreast with the latest developments.
“Our vision is wherever there is data, we will protect it. Earlier, our product was delivered as a software licence, but it is now through the service model,” says Milind.
It was this same focus that enabled Druva to transition from the desktop and laptop era and jump onto the cloud bandwagon.
“In 2011-12, we woke up to the cloud revolution and saw that computer power and storage were moving to this platform,” recalls the co-founder. This led the tech startup to start rebuilding its software to move to the cloud to meet requirements of scale, elasticity, and cost.
Milind adds, “We were confident that market is going to shift towards cloud as it ranked higher on all parameters when compared to on premise technology.” Though there were some doubts among customers in the beginning, adoption just got bigger with time.
At present, there are a greater number of players entering this segment of data protection and management through the SaaS model. Milind welcomes this entry, saying, “If we are the only player in this segment, the onus is on us to educate the market but if there is competition it is good for everybody.”
While the best laid plans seem to be in place, only time will tell how soon Druva can launch its IPO, and maybe pave the way for other Indian startups to follow suit.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)
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