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How An Indian Startup Managed To Disrupt Enterprise Mobility Management

True as it is, it’s more important to be downright useful. You create something genuinely useful, people are gonna buy it. Yes, people are gonna stand in line to buy it. 

Tuesday October 25, 2016,

5 min Read

According to CIO, though Small and Medium Businesses were much eager to embrace BYOD than big corporations, when it comes to security, SMBs haven’t been as watchful as their larger cousins. The pricey Mobility Management suites didn’t help either. Well, CIO has curated a list of easy-to-deploy BYOD management solutions to bump up your security, without hurting productivity or your budget. The list features Hexnode MDM alongside Airwatch, Meraki, Codeproof and Intune. Hexnode MDM listed in Networkworld’s lineup of affordable MDMs and Techdonut’s pick of the best MDM software applications for SMEs.

I recently interviewed Mr. Apu Pavithran. Who is he? What he does? Well, let's find out in this article. Mitsogo Inc. is one of India’s premier Enterprise Mobility companies founded by yet another trio of Zoho Alumni. Hexnode MDM, the Mobile Device Management solution from Mitsogo is one of most sought after solutions among BYOD organizations. Apu Pavithran, CEO of Hexnode talks about his journey.

How did you become an entrepreneur?

It was not like I had an epiphany to set out and build a B2B company. A couple of my friends over at Zoho, whenever we met for coffee, someone would float the idea of a startup. Eventually, our conversations began to almost exclusively drift to entrepreneurship. Just like that, one evening we decided to throw ourselves into the startup game. I was the first to quit my job, and it might have been a ‘shit just got real’ moment for the others. In the following months, my friends too left their jobs and got in on the action. Once we settled on B2B, it was a question I came across at an IT conference in the US that helped us zero in on the Enterprise Mobility domain.

Why Enterprise Mobility?

The Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) space already had a few big names in IT, some major pure-play vendors and few niche vendors that showed potential. At that time, almost every industry was taking to the cloud, but for EMM, it was always going to be a slow transition. The archaic elements in IT management, the slow BYOD adoption, a lot of factors held back EMM. So, by the time we were good and ready with our product, we would still have a bulk of the yet untapped market.

The legacy MDM vendors looked at Mobile Device Management as an extension of Desktop Management. However, it wouldn't work like that, Mobile was fundamentally different and had to be dealt with on its own terms. Even the pure-play mobile vendors got it all wrong with their management approach. The device centered approach simply was too complicated, and not at all a scalable model. It had to be user centric, and for these vendors, it meant either going back to the drawing board or trying to fix a system that was inherently broken. Either way, it was a clear win for us.

Our timing couldn’t have been better either, if we had been a couple of years early, we would have followed the legacy approach, and we would be just another player at the MDM table, with the same hand. A couple of years late and we would be playing catch up.

When did you realize that you could take on the competition?

When we released our alpha to a limited user group, mainly our friends in the industry, it was praises all around, but we knew we couldn’t trust that. Once we put up our demo online, and had real customers, total strangers complementing, vouching for our product, kicking themselves for not having found us sooner, that is when we started throwing the self-high-fives. During demos, customers would say in disbelief “That’s it? Oh, man, it’s so simple.”

How has the journey been so far?

Well, once you have embraced entrepreneurship, the sleepless nights, the adrenaline rushes, all are kind of a given. People say you can separate your work and life and be productive working 8 hours, well maybe a different kind of work, or different kind of people. Once you have given it all you got, then there's no line in between, you live it. It’s been one hell of a journey.

So, how do you cope with the stress?

Well, my wife is also on team Mitsogo, working alongside, sharing the stress which means you take more work home and more stress. But hey, I don't need to explain myself if we don't get 'quality time' over the weekend. And having a hyperactive 3-year-old helps, makes you practically immune to stress.

Have you ever questioned your decision to become and entrepreneur?

Honestly, it's never easy, the switch from the cozy embrace of monthly income to the cold strangle of uncertainty. And for us, we had a kid on the way, which made things all the more hard. But if you are lucky to have people around you who support you no matter what, then it makes the stress all the more bearable. Knowing there are people counting on you, that gut wrenching weight makes you question your every decision but if I were to choose again, I'll still take entrepreneurship any day.

As a startup, can you tell us a bit about your company culture?

Culture is more than just bean bags and beer and cappuccino machine; it’s about putting your people in the same room and to have that feeling you belong together. We go great lengths to make sure every new member fits our team perfectly. But 

“It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you, right?"

 At Mitsogo, everyone gets to make a difference, a difference big enough to matter. People talk about passion, as an integral part of the startup culture. True as it is, it’s more important to be downright useful. You create something genuinely useful, people are gonna buy it. People are gonna stand in line to buy it.