This Cybersecurity Expert's Startup for India & Southeast Asia is Taking Baby Steps & Winning
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Rahul Sasi built CloudSEK, an artificial intelligence-driven unified risk management enterprise focused on customised, intelligent security monitors and systems, in 2015. The company has since then raised $2.5 million in pre-Series A funding and has set its eyes on India and Southeast Asia.
The cybersecurity expert is helping organisations monitor and manage their security posture in real-time from the perspective of an attacker across the region.
In a conversation with Entrepreneur India, Sasi spoke about taking the right risks, motivation to keep one’s baby running, the fine balance between choosing Singapore and India for operations and why startups makes the best customers for other startups.
Startups as Customers
CloudSEK works with some of the world’s biggest startups including US-based Uber Technologies & Singapore-based GrabTaxi Holdings and Sasi finds that a blessing.
It’s pretty easy to get work with another startup as your customer because the decision making in these companies is not stretched; they will be one key decision-maker and he will sign the cheque, so it’s very comfortable working with these unicorn startups,” says Sasi.
On the other side, large companies have a long decision-making process with a chain of decision-makers involved getting those customers was one of the most painful processes which pushed Sasi to focus on the unicorn startups in the initial years that were able to generate fast revenue.
Hits & Misses
Sasi thinks the best way is to take a calculative risk is when there is an opportunity. “All good opportunities come with a risk; you have to also calculate a little bit like possibilities: What are the things that don’t work? What is the worst thing that can happen? What if I make it big and then you equate the downside and upside and then you’ll know if this is the right time to jump into entrepreneurship or not,” says Sasi.
Another way that he suggests is, find your motivational factor. “Some people are motivated with money, some are motivated by power so for me the motivation was fear, I mean I was always afraid of something or the other so for me if I drop out of engineering I don’t have a degree the chances of me being successful is nil right that’s a fear and that was my motivation I had to work really hard, harder than everyone in my college who has a degree harder than the lakhs and lakhs of engineers who pass out of college who are much smarter than me and have a degree, and if I had to outrun them so I had to work harder so that fear was important to me and that’s my motivation I choose to have fear alongside me,” says Sasi.
Roadmap to Success
Sasi says CloudSEK isn’t a venture started to gain success, it is something he does because he likes what he is doing.
“For example, we identify the stolen credentials which got hacked and leaked online, we find that and send it back to the bank this way we were able to protect almost a million users from financial losses and more than multiple corers in financial losses it’s a good deed it makes me happy by doing it, so I focus on exploring ways to achieve something which will impact more people and at the same time build this amazing technology for this country is what I am focused on whether I am successful or not is not something which is a secondary factor, how can I achieve the target in a better way that is more important and I am focused on it,” thinks Sasi. He believes being successful is being happy in whatever one is doing and success is you should like what you do.
Singapore Better Positioned as Headquarters but India Better at Relationships
Sasi likes some other mushrooming Indian startups feels shifting base to Singapore is a better idea when it comes to registering your company. The company is headquartered in Singapore and has an operations centre in Bengaluru.
It took Sasi a month to register a company in India whereas he achieved the same in two days in Singapore.
“There is a significant upside there; you can take one meeting in Bangalore, maximum three meetings. In Singapore, you can take six to seven meetings in a day and the productivity vibe is much higher there. At the end of the day, you are happy.
He, however, said all of CloudSEK’s initial customers have come from India. “In India, people know me and vouched for me in the earlier days, which would have been impossible in Singapore. In India, people have a stronger relationship and bond with each other and that’s one of the most advantageous things about being in India,” says Sasi.
“India has it pros and cons.”