With 450pc Y-o-Y growth, this Tier II cybersecurity startup is aiming to reach 50+ countries and 10K+ paying clients
When Karmesh Gupta started his entrepreneurial journey along with his cousin Praveen Gupta in 2014, he did not know what was in store for them. Within three years, they faced three continuous failures, which taught them the three most important lessons for any startup founder -- resilience, hard work, and consistency.
Continuing with their exploration, the duo decided to take a plunge into the cybersecurity segment. In 2017, they launched WiJungle to disrupt the global cybersecurity segment and launched its product - Unified Network Security Platform (UNSP).
An AI and ML-based product, UNSP brings a single window of operation by replacing the existing multiple expensive standalone silos like a router, load balancer, VPN servers, network firewall, web application firewall, hotspot gateway, SD-WAN, DLP, vulnerability assessment, and more of an organisation, thereby reducing the overall investment by up to 60 percent and simplify the management.
Banking on its success, within a span of three years, Jaipur-based WiJungle claims to have grown its customer base by 200 percent last year. It is now serving over 25 countries worldwide.
Challenges: Then and now
Karmesh reminisces that in the initial days, the startup’s first challenge was to deliver trust to its customers by offering comprehensive capabilities, which are either parallel or advanced compared to existing best of breed silos.
“We fulfilled it by providing in-depth industry-wise specialised features and applying infinite optimisations to match required IO and performance demands,” Karmesh tells YourStory.
The second was to gain acceptance and sales preference from the channel partner community. The team achieved it by doing three things:
- reduced its pre-sales bandwidth through an automated partner portal and offering a tech demo facility directly by WiJungle to its customers.
- round the clock dedicated agent support with committed 90 minutes resolution time over WhatsApp, webchat, email, and phone
- acknowledging efforts with a higher margin
However, with time, the challenges have taken the shift. From trust and acceptance, they are more condensed around the expansion plans now.
“The turning point was when we got our first international order, and then over a period of next four months, we got back-to-back orders and partner building opportunities from eight countries. This was the time when we felt that we not just overcame but excelled in the initial challenges,” says Karmesh.
Key strengths offered to the enterprises
Businesses are currently following a distributed architecture wherein they deploy multiple stand-alone silos to safeguard their network, cloud, and remote assets. This turns out to be capital intensive and complex to manage and scale on a day-by-day basis.
Hence, convergence/unified architecture offered by WiJungle is the need of the hour to achieve the following:
- the cost goes down and further turns the paying model from capex to opex.
- reduces operational burdens
- offers industry specialised capabilities
- synchronises security to enable proactive defence
- a pool of third-party services to integrate and flavour as per requirements
Plus, WiJungle offers its own proprietary operating system – WiJungle OS. It is based on Linux Kernel. “We use around nine scripting and programming languages to keep efficiency in place for different objectives,” added Karmesh.
On the pricing front, Karmesh believes their aggressive pricing turns out to be the key factor to accelerate the global acceptability in comparison to the US or Israeli alternatives. While, on the competition front, he believes that being the only player in Unified Network Security, WiJungle currently does not hold any direct competition.
The business and growth
A sector-agnostic B2B company, WiJungle provides annual, triennial, and quinquennial licence subscription to organisations, subjected to further renewals.
The company has three revenue channels, which include inside sales, on-ground sales, and channel partners.
“We have been able to grow at an average of 450 percent Y-o-Y with our limited team and associations. We have grown our customer base by 200 percent last year, and our partner network by 130 percent,” says Karmesh.
Bootstrapped so far, the startup is being recognised as Gartner’s “Voice of the Customer” among the ‘Highest Rated Vendor’ globally for the second consecutive year in Network Firewall in 2021.
At present, it claims to be serving more than 15 ministries and the PMO in the central government along with numerous state-level organisations across industry verticals like hospitality, healthcare, education, BFSI, retail, defence, transportation, and ITES, among others.
The team believes that the Indian market is very diverse and based on practical experience with different use cases, and hence it becomes easy for Indian players to scale overseas.
WiJungle is now looking to expand to Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Africa within this financial year.
According to Karmesh, the Indian products are seen as a very credible offering in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia Market and that's where it gives the room to Indian companies or players to go and win those territories. “Moreover, it is an intermediate step to build the base for the US and Europe launch,” he says.
The company is also looking to complete its team expansion within the next four months. At the same time, it plans to reach 50+ countries and have 10K+ paying customers in the next 18 months.
“This growth is going to come from global expansion, targeted majorly towards SMBs and public sectors,” he adds.
Moving forward, the challenges ahead for the team is to substantially expand themselves in other geographies and also to keep growing its internal innovation index. Karmesh believes that increasing the internal innovation index (I2) over time is significant for taking the product a leap ahead.
“Since it is a new market, there is a huge potential to establish oneself as an initial player and grow exponentially. The market for Unified Network Security is expected to grow by 500 percent in the next four years and reach a global market size of $5 billion by 2024, and WiJungle is looking to be at the forefront of this opportunity,” says Karmesh.