InfiSecure Co-founder Abhilash Pandey discusses the company’s product development approach:
We decided to release a minimalistic product in beta, and then started building on top of the base beta product. We are happy that we took this approach; it also helped us get more customer insights which shaped the way forward.
Location: Delaware, US
Product / Service Offering: Bot Protection as SaaS platform
Co-founder Interviewed: Abhilash Pandey
Other Key Management Team Members: Sandeep Singh, Ashish Kumar Singh
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you?
I am a business graduate from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. Having worked at Microsoft and Facebook, I have honed my leadership skills to enable people to perform at the best of their capabilities. The potential to help people outperform their own expectations motivates me. Both Sandeep, co-founder at InfiSecure, and I are positive and forward looking.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
It all started while Sandeep and I were working at Microsoft, around August 2015. We knew that the bot industry was growing at a fast pace, which meant increasing bot threats for online businesses. Building in-house solutions was not feasible for businesses due to the complexities involved. So we came up with the idea of an advanced SaaS platform that could give businesses a fine tuned control over their bot traffic and not just block bots.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
All online B2C businesses face a myriad of online frauds caused by bot traffic on their websites. More than 50%-75% of overall traffic on a website originates from bots. InfiSecure helps businesses gain insights on this major chunk of traffic. It gives detailed bot metrics on a website, and also provides 24/7 active protection against bad bots created by scrapers, spammers, hackers, and competitors.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
Our constant will to learn and adapt sets us apart. We focus on research. R&D is the most significant part of our business. We had a working product with paid customers and we were solving big problems for our customers. When Ashish, our CTO, joined us in August 2016, he came with a completely new approach to solving the bot menace. His recommendations involved serious changes to our existing architecture. But we made those significant changes to our system and it showed in the results. We were now detecting more bots than before and our response times improved. This very readiness to change, we believe, sets us apart from our competitors.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was to decide the product release timelines. This is a huge system and we could have built it in stealth mode for over two years. It could have seriously impacted our business metrics. We decided to release a minimalistic product in beta, and then started building on top of the base beta product. We are happy that we took this approach; it also helped us get more customer insights which shaped the way forward.
<see related: 8 Ingredients for a Business Secret Sauce >
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
We were awarded Microsoft Bizpark Plus Azure credits worth $ 120,000 . This helped us greatly as we could bootstrap without any significant cloud charges. We believe other founders should apply to similar programs if their products require extensive cloud usage.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We had applied for a competition that IDG Ventures had hosted. We were shortlisted, and the first presentation itself had set the ball rolling. We eventually ended up securing $ 600,000 from IDG Ventures and Axilor Ventures.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
Yes, the question that haunted us for a while was how we approach corporate level executives, being a bootstrapped start-up with almost zero brand recognition. It was hard initially, but we realized that bot protection was a critical enough factor to approach senior executives.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
We are working on evangelizing the need for bot protection. We have customers who experience 80-90% bot traffic on their website. Most of the website owners do not recognize the fact that their platforms are being over-crawled by bots, let alone the vulnerabilities to bot frauds.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
As a start-up, focus on the things that matter the most. Bandwidth and resources are limited. Use them wisely.
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