In 2010, Anand Kekre and Ankur Panchbudhe built Vaultize Technologies, a security technology company that looks into solutions for unstructured data. Anand, as the CEO, drives vision, strategy, and business execution, while Ankur handles the product development and technology innovation side of things in the role of the CTO.
The founders are IIT-Bombay graduates and have worked together in different roles with global MNCs—Symantec and McAfee—for over decade. The duo, however, wanted to take their journey to the next level.
Today, Pune-headquartered Vaultize has hundreds of enterprise customers spread across verticals like banks, financial institutes, manufacturing, and media in India as well as across the US, Singapore and the Middle East.
In an exclusive interview with CIO India, Anand Kekre, co-founder and CEO, Vaultize Technologies, talks about how Indian startups can create a footprint today’s competitive global tech landscape.
In a world of MNCs, which spectrum of technology is addressed by Vaultize?
Kekre: We are focused on unstructured data which pertains to files and e-mail in an organization. The company was named keeping the same in mind; Vaultize standing for securing unstructured data.
Over the last few years, unstructured data is moving out of the control of enterprise IT. Today, everybody is more mobile. Data is moving out of file servers, SharePoint, and desktops and onto mobile devices. The security perimeter limited to corporate boundaries earlier have fallen off.
We are an end-to-end data security player and ensure the security of unstructured data from the time a file is created to the time it is shared or accessed, within or outside an organization. We help keep corporate data under the control of organizations even after it has been downloaded by third-party recipients to their own devices.
Have you overcome the teething issues that Indian startups generally face?
Kekre: Narendra Modi’s Make in India campaign largely relates to manufacturing, but it also extends to information technology. We are a 100 percent Indian company with our complete R&D team based here. We also have sales offices in the US and Singapore, but our core management team operates out of India.
Ankur, the co-founder, and I wrote the first product in 2010 launching our platform for the enterprise IT community. But it was not easy to gain customer validation in India. File sharing was a new concept as organizations often correlated our solutions with endpoint data protection and encryption.
However, for the last 18 months, we have seen a significant demand for collaboration and file sharing, and a slowdown in endpoint protection solutions. Organizations with data loss and compliance risks demand solutions from an end-to-end data security provider like us. We got funded by the Tata Capital Innovation Fund in 2013 which helped us fuel our expansion plans at a faster pace.
Did proliferation of mobile devices in India trigger the market acceptance of Vaultize?
Kekre: Precisely. When we first pitched our solutions in India, the concept of BYOD was picking up in countries like the US. This posed challenges with consumer file-sharing platforms like Dropbox. Employees used Dropbox not only for photos or music, but they also shared corporate data through it.
We believed that verticals like pharma, BFSI or the more security-conscious ones like IP or compliance-related would face these challenges too. CIOs do not want their confidential documents to be shared on a third-party cloud. Companies in India are fast realizing the importance of a secure solution to access and share their corporate data with complete IT control.
How does Vaultize stack against the competition from well-established security giants?
Kekre: Vaultize offers control, visibility, and monitoring of IT that permits individual users to access, share, and edit data on any device. It has the flavor of enterprise file sync and share (like EMC and Citrix), of end-point protection/backup (like Symantec and Commvault), and a secure access from anywhere. Hence, the competition for us depends on the context. As an enterprise platform that provides an entire suite, none of the competitors come close to us.
We call ourselves the Blackberry for files. Just as Blackberry relays e-mails securely to your handheld, we too relay files in a secure manner. We also have solutions for FTP replacement, virtual data room (VDR), managed mobile collaboration, and mobile content management. There is no other single-product company today that hands over the entire control of unstructured data to customers.
Going global means a cloud roadmap is a must-have for modern technology companies.
Kekre: Vaultize is architected as a scalable cloud that can be deployed on-premise or as a private cloud. We have optimized our architecture for on-premise deployments in the form of a purpose-built appliance called cloud-in-a-box. Also, we have a public cloud hosted on Amazon Web Service that works well for small and medium businesses.
We work with three MSPs in the US and with one in Singapore. We are open to align with MSPs in India too. We provide hybrid functionality as many customers subscribe to AWS and want some amount of storage on-premise or some on the cloud. The Vaultize architecture is platform-, storage-, and cloud-agnostic.
Indian-bred product companies like iFlex, Tally and Cyberoam have created a mark in the enterprise IT space. What are your future aspirations?
Kekre: Having worked for over a decade with IBM, Symantec, and McAfee, our ambition was building world-class, cutting-edge solutions in India which would serve the entire world. We did not work in isolation but clearly understood the pain points of customers across the world while developing the product. Conducting POCs in the first two months with large players across verticals has led to a few of them testing the waters too.
After three years of rolling out our flagship product, we are now a global security company with offices in the US and Singapore. We also address the security market in the UK and the Middle East. We will soon expand to Australia and more geographies of Europe, APAC, and Africa.
Yogesh Gupta is executive editor of CIO India. You can contact him at email@example.com