From a passionate cricketer to building a SaaS security platform: the story of Indusface's Ashish Tandon

In this week’s 100X Entrepreneur podcast, Ashish Tandon, Co-founder and CEO of Indusface, one of India’s leading cloud security and application security platforms, dives deep into his personal and professional journey.
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Not everyone can step away from their passion to pursue entrepreneurship. But Ashish Tandon is among the few who did, giving up his cricketing dreams to be an entrepreneur.

A first-generation entrepreneur, Ashish finished his education in Baroda. A fast bowler, he always wanted to be a cricketer who played for India. He played Under-19 for the West Zone and was picked for the Baroda Ranji Trophy team as well.

“But being a fast bowler, I had stress fractures in my leg for three years in a row. That made me decide whether I can continue like this, or should I take an alternative career path. I had finished my engineering and like others, I could have easily gone to the US, done my management or something like that, and started working there. But I always somehow had an entrepreneurial instinct in me and said, ‘I need to do something which can satisfy me’,” says Ashish in a conversation with Siddhartha Ahluwalia, Founder and Host of 100X Entrepreneur.

Today, Ashish is the Co-founder and CEO of Indusface, one of the leading cloud security and application security platforms from India.

Indusface is his third venture. He sold his first company ‘Internet Services’ to Sify and his second venture ‘IndusGuard’ to TrendMicro.

“I have no regrets in my life. I think I have enjoyed every aspect of my life. Every venture has not only taught me, but also has given me the ability to be reasonably successful as well in my own capacities. There have been ups and downs, but I still look forward to getting up and coming to my office every day,” Ashish says.

Building and scaling

Ashish says it took him almost 13 years to scale up Indusface.

When he sold his second company to Trend Micro, he was figuring out the weaknesses in his company’s customer application, and their websites or mobile apps, and reporting it to them.

“When I met my CIO and CSO friends, they would tell me that, while it is great to report all these, it also takes time for them to fix it. And that hackers can hack any time. They asked me to come up with a solution where I can not only report these weaknesses, but till the time they fix it, I could help them stay protected,” he recalls.

Ashish had this in his mind since then and began working on it from the day after the acquisition. And that is how Indusface came into being in 2012.

“However, when we started this venture, we had little capital so the first few years were spent in making sure the technology was right, building the right stuff, and making sure it was done well. And then, like any startup, it took us some time to get to our first million ARR,” Ashish explains.

His first few customers were large enterprises like banks or insurance companies, who Ashish says were very demanding and particular – this helped him shape his product well.

Indusface moved to a digital offering only about two and a half years back. It reaches out to customers across the world through its online mechanism, which includes a marketing and inside sales model.

“And that has been a driver. Now that we have all this work for the last two years, we are also building out a partnership channel and making sure that we have partners outside India as well. We recently signed a very large partnership with the world’s number one IT consulting company, TCS. As part of their managed security services offering for the protection side of the application, they use our product module as the backend,” Ashish says.

Ashish believes that all this has led to his company’s growth.

In 2020, as Indusface hit the $3.5 million to 5 million ARR, it got an investor. Today, his company is on the growth path with all social proof available in terms of customers, analysis, and product-market fit.

“We raised capital, and we are using that now to make sure our ship is off the ground. And we are trying to get more and more customers as quickly as possible. I think that’s what our current journey is,” Ashish says.

To know more, listen to the podcast here:

03:08 – Early background in cricket

06:30 – 1st venture right out of college

08:46 – Getting acquired by Sify within 2 years

09:49 – What led to his second venture?

13:21 – Multimillion-dollar exit to TrendMicro

15:16 – Reason behind bootstrapping his ventures

17:55 – What led him to starting Indusface?

19:42 – Problem statements solved by Indusface

24:32 – Journey from $1M ARR to current scale

28:10 – Key levers to doubling their ARR within a year

31:32 – Challenges in building Indusface

36:58 – Having your spouse as your co-founder

38:50 – Reflecting on his journey

44:09 – Lessons from all his ventures

Edited by Teja Lele

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