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This GM Explains Why the Market of Cyber Security Has Never Seen a Downfall in Past 30 Years Vlcek talked about how Avast Software has taken its valuation from $ 23 million to now $ 880 million in a decade and how the free trial is helping it earn money from its business

By Ritu Marya

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After leaving its mark in cyber security space, Czech Republic-based Avast is now exploring the IoT market with home automation technologies and devices around the world. Keeping security as its core focus of the business, the company is expanding its services in smart home technologies like BPN, family security, password manager, etc.

The technology giant debuted with its IPO in London Stock Exchange in April. The cyber security firm planned to hit $ 4.5 billion valuation through IPO in April and is doing exceptionally well out of all the other technology firms on LSE since then.

The Editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, Ritu Marya met with Ondrej Vlcek, EVP and GM, Avast Software at RISE Conference in Hong Kong. Vlcek talked about how the company has taken its valuation from $23 million to now $ 880 million in a decade and how the free trial is helping it earn a lot of money from its business.

Never Seen a Downfall in Cyber Security Market

One of the global leaders of cyber security space, Avast has been doing cyber security for 30 years now. The company claims that it had never seen a downfall over these years in the market. The General Manager Ondrej Vlcek said, "An influx of software, devices and new technologies coming in has led the market upwards always as everything today is related to the internet."

He underscored that cyber security is an important part of the dark internet that can never be ignored in fact, it's importance would always manifold with the coming times. This market has never declined. It has just grown in all those decades.

Just a decade ago, the company was a team of 65 people doing $ 23 million dollars now it has over 1,700 people doing 880 million.

"The beauty of solution provided by Avast is that it allows us to generate a lot of insights and information. It will be kind of interesting to map Indian market with this technology. Indian ISPs are doing a better job at securing the routers in India than the US. When it comes to security camera, the market is small and for now, it's secured," says Vlcek.

How Avast is Earning from its Free of Charge Services

Talking about the growth model of Avast, Vlcek said that the idea of giving free of charge services to customers has helped company largely to build its massive user base.

Claiming that the company is the largest provider of using this model, he said that over the years the company has accumulated 435 million users. However, it would be surprising to know that Avast doesn't get money from its 96 per cent of users, but the company's 4 per cent users makeup for its business.

Elaborating more on this Vlcek said, "The remainder contributes otherwise for example with their security data because the engine is based on big data approach. Even if customers don't pay us money for the product they use, the security data helps us fuel our machine learning engine that we have in the cloud."

Acquisitions with its Rivals in the Market

The company has got two major brands that are AVG and Avast. About two years ago, Avast had acquired its rival AVG antivirus to nab its customer base worldwide. With this move in business, the company today is by far the largest in the cyber security market.

With this major deal in 2016, the company has gotten hold of AVG's 160M end points, to add to its 240M, hence it adds a lot more endpoints into their data analysis, which improves the security results and allows us to stay ahead of others," said Vlcek on the acquisition deal of AVG.

"The entire top flight "antivirus products' are all extraordinarily sophisticated, and many of them — such as ours — exist mostly in the cloud. And they run mostly on machine learning and AI," he added.

While talking about its other rival in the space, he also said Symantec has been number one and larger than Avast always as the company holds the second position in the market as for now. Keeping the point of stability of the brand in mind, he said, "Avast has climbed a strong growth. It's pretty stable. You can clearly see the benefit from the premium model."

Emerging Markets Include a Large Part of Southeast Asia

When Vlcek was asked about his expansion story in the Asian markets he said India and Hong Kong are one of the emerging markets of today's times.

Vlcek said, "India is certainly a good market for us. It has grown in the last couple of years." The company has done some important partnerships in India, though for now, it doesn't have its offices in India yet they are planning to have one soon.

Talking about Hong Kong - he said we have got over a million users from Hong Kong. The whole business model is based on seeding the market with the high-quality free product then gradually over time moving these customers into becoming paid customers.

Ritu Marya

Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur Media (APAC & India)

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