[Tech30] Hyderabad startup WeSecureApp is improving security for SBI MF, Aditya Birla Capital, Grofers
In recent years, technology has assumed massive, never-before-seen proportions and scale, with the capacity to make the most complex of tasks simple and seamless. However, despite all the advancements, cybersecurity continues to remain a major challenge for companies.
In August 2016, Cybersecurity Ventures, the leading researcher and publisher of reports covering global cybercrime and cybersecurity, predicted that cybercrime would cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2016.
With the rampant increase in cybercrimes, network security solutions have become a critical need for organisations. This is where WeSecureApp seeks to make a difference, improving security posture for more than 100 global clients through constant innovation, commitment, and ethical practices.
Founded in July 2016, the cybersecurity startup is based out of Hyderabad.
“We started the journey with application security, and now we have moved up the value chain by securing networks, infrastructure, and cloud, too,” says Venu Rao, Founder and CEO, WeSecureApp.
With the launch of their flagship product, Strobes, in July this year, the startup has transformed from a solutions company to an enterprise security product company, he adds. Strobes won the launchpad award at a shark-tank style competition at RSA Conference in Singapore this year
WeSecureApp works with startups, including Netmeds and Grofers, and enterprises, including State Bank of India Mutual Fund, Aditya Birla Capital, and DSP Investments.
WeSecureApp is founded by first cousins Venu, Akhil Renikunta, and Srini Dhara.
Venu, an MBA graduate from ICFAI Business School, Hyderabad, has previously worked as a senior consultant at Symphony Marketing Solutions and managing partner at Shastra Softech.
The CTO at WeSecureApp, Akhil has been the proverbial whiz-kid, venturing into ethical hacking at the age of 14. He has worked with internet giants including Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, and Google to report on coding- and hacking-related vulnerabilities in their systems. Instrumental in developing Strobes, Akhil’s strengths lie in designing, coding, hacking, and problem-solving.
Srini, the COO, is a second-time entrepreneur and has 15-plus years of experience with US Fortune 500 companies. He had previously founded a resource management specialist company, Squirrels Square LLC. The startup has a current team strength of 32. They havee two directors - Eshwar Uppala and Anurag Giri.
Customer engagement model
WeSecureApp doesn't believe in just performing an assessment, submitting the report, and then moving on, say the founders.
“We work more like a partner than a vendor. We clearly understand our customer's problems first, learn their goals, and then accordingly design a security road map of 12 to 24 months' engagement,” says Venu.
The startup’s solutions extend across devSecOps, red team assessment, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing(VAPT), code review, cloud review, and active directory security assessment.
These services are priced between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 35 lakh per assessment.
The flagship product, Strobes, is a security orchestration and vulnerability correlation platform. It connects with over 50 vulnerability scanners and tracking and communication tools. Powered by machine learning, Strobes analyses over one million vulnerabilities from different feeds and helps identify the loopholes and backdoors that are being exploited in a system.
Strobes is available on-premium and as a private SaaS solution. WeSecureApp charges between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 60 lakh per annum for this product, based on the size of the client company.
Marquee client base
Recalling they acquired their first set of customers at a cybersecurity conference, Venu says, “Our initial customers were PayU Money, Bharat Matrimony, and Goibibo.”
Besides working with the likes of SBI MF, Grofers, and Netmeds, WeSecureApp has also served tech and channel partners in Singapore, the UK, and the US.
Venu recounts that one of the top internet companies in India was once threatened by a hacker over a critical vulnerability which would expose their customer and transaction details. The hacker demanded a large sum of money in exchange for disclosing the vulnerability. After the company approached WeSecureApp for a solution, the team was able to resolve the issue within seven hours.
“Today, they are one of our biggest clients,” he says.
Most of WeSecureApp’s clients subscribe to their annual engagement programme. According to the founders, the company’s revenue has grown from Rs 50 lakh in FY17 to Rs 2.5 crore in FY19.
“For FY20, we are looking at Rs 3.5 crore revenue, and, by 2024, we are aiming at $20 million,” says Venu. WeSecureApp has secured $100,000 from a bunch of angel investors.
According to a MarketsAndMarkets report, the global cybersecurity market size was valued at $137.63 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach $248.26 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 10.2 percent.
WeSecureApp competes with the likes of Kenna Security and ZeroNorth.
Speaking on the differentiating capabilities of their solutions, Venu says,
“The distinctive features of Strobes are the SKB (Strobes Knowledge Bank), connectors, and tailor-made developer training reports that focus on quickly detecting and addressing the vulnerabilities and also allow the development team to understand the common vulnerabilities.”
The way ahead
WeSecureApp is currently gearing up to showcase Strobes at the IT security conference RSA in the US in February 2020.
“We are planning to expand operations in the US and add more channel and technology partners to cater to other geographies,” says Venu.
The startup is also in talks with angel investors to raise seed funding of $500,000.
(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)
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