In a freewheeling chat with YS Weekender, Saket Modi, CEO and Co-founder Lucideus Technologies, talks about his first hack in school, his love for music, and how his company was named after a word that a lyricist came up with in college…
We know him as Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM)’s protector, or the person guarding airports in Delhi and Mumbai with his cybersecurity weapons. He has assessed cyber walls of companies like WhatsApp, Google Pay, BookMyShow, MiPay, etc. But Lucideus Technologies’ CEO and co-founder Saket Modi, 28, is more than just a computer science graduate, an entrepreneur, and an ethical hacker.
Saket, who grew up in Calcutta in a middle-class Marwari household, credits his business acumen to lessons he picked up at home.
“I say I have two degrees. One, I am a computer science engineer, second, I am a Marwari from Calcutta. And, the second degree is probably bigger than the first one,” he says, adding that he picked up the nuances of running a business from his father, who owned a franchise of an animation institute.
Apart from assessing the cyber security for Fortune 500 companies, Lucideus also trains students across the globe on cyber security. “My father helps me with my training business today,” Saket adds.
During his school days, Saket was often chided for not sitting still, and was an average student, academics-wise, except when it came to math and computer science, as he was always topping in those subjects. And his love for technology and programming was set early in life.
His first hack wasn’t so ethical after all, Saket admits. Finding it difficult to clear his chemistry papers in Class XII, his teacher warned him that he would have to definitely pass the pre-boards in order to stand a chance at the boards.
“So, I had to do something. And the ‘something’ was definitely not studying,” Saket laughs. He went on to get his hands on the chemistry question paper right before the exam by hacking.
“I basically downloaded a free tool from the internet to hack a password-protected word file. It's not a big deal. I had the password within three-four hours,” he explains. But his heart was in the right place, and Saket informed his teacher, and did not cheat in the exams.
Saket is also a pianist and holds a degree in Music from Royal College of Music, London. And owing to his love for music, his company was named after a word coined by the lyricist in his college.
Saket was part of a music band in school as well as college. “The word ‘Lucideus’ comes from a mix of ‘Lucifer’ which is Satan or darkness, and ‘deus’, meaning God of light; it is like a yin and yang,” he explains.
Saket connects his love for music with his love with maths. “I am very passionate about the piano and music. Especially because when you look at music notes from a mathematical perspective, it is magical and out of the world,” Saket says.
He goes on to explain: “I have been somebody who is been reasonably good with mathematics and because I can see staff notation and understand how music works with my limited knowledge, and glean that there is an intersection between the two. You can actually make formulae on paper with progressions, and when you play them on the piano, it is great.”
And the music is well and truly alive. There are monthly jamming sessions at the Lucideus office, where Saket and his team sing and dances. And speaking of dance, Saket loves salsa and has been practising the dance form.
Perhaps it is all these other pursuits that keeps Saket grounded, not overworked and tired when the going gets tough. His schedule has him traveling across places like Europe frequently and this allows him to enjoy the food and take in the culture of new places.
On his what keeps him grounded, Saket says that in the last six years of his stint as a founder, he has never raised his voice. He believes that people can be always calm if they are realistic.
Unsurprisingly, Saket hasn't got an anxiety attack ever, and stays rooted in reality.
"I need to be realistic. So, neither negative nor positive, I will be absolutely realistic about situations, and deal with things as they happen,” says Saket.