Experience of A Non-Hacker Starting a Cyber Security Company
by K. Venu Gopal Rao

It’s been just over a year, WeSecureApp a Cyber Security company is now a team of 15, with over 45 clients, 10 global partners, secured over 160 applications and saved more than $7 Million for our clients. We are really happy with the way we started and now time to accelerate.

How it all started

In 2015, Startup was the buzz word across the metros in India with Central Government’s pet-projects on Startup India, Digital India and an amazing ecosystem created by our state government with T-Hub.

With the entrepreneurial bug and inclination towards technology, I wanted to solve at least ONE major problem and that’s to make Internet a Safer Place. Cyber Crimes and Cyber attacks costs about $400 Billion+ a year and with the rise of Internet Penetration and Mobile Phones, this is going increase multi-fold. Also, Cyber Security Industry is growing at double-digit rate with a forecast of $170 Billion by 2020.

Then I came to know about Akhil, a Whiz-Kid who luckily is my cousin winning thousands of dollars by hunting bug bounties. I was really curious to know how a 20-year kid earning crazily by just spending few hours in front of the machine and then started to learn about Security Industry.

Well, thanks to my other cousin Srini who is a GC holder in US with 15+ years of experience in Testing industry worked with companies like Fannie Mae, Sprint etc. and with great knowledge about US staffing who showed interest in Cyber Security business.

So we three had multiple conversations about what to offer to clients. Is it Service or Product? And finally concluded like most of the start-ups do, start with services, make some money and then build the product.

How did the founding team come together

Next big question, how can we identify an amazing founding team.

Every startup faces this challenge of hiring the founding team. With paucity of funds getting a great talent is next to impossible. But again, thanks to Akhil who pulled off magically. He could get Eshwar and Anurag, very talented, smart and hard working young folks.

Well, none of these guys Akhil, Eshwar and Anurag have any corporate experience but all of them are listed as the best ethical hackers in different bounty platforms and acknowledged by Internet Giants like FB, Yahoo, Google, Twitter etc.

That’s how we 5 Hack-Avengers formed the company WeSecureApp with a vision to make Internet a Safer Place.

Getting the first client

Now that we decided to focus on services, which includes VAPT for Web, Mobile and Networks, we worked on standard operating procedure and came up with one of the best methodology which is on par with the Big 4 consulting firms.

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We were ready with all the necessary documents, sample reports, etc… and then started scouting for the first client. Again, we were lucky this time wherein a client from Chicago approached us through social media and checked with us about our capabilities on VAPT for soft phones and BINGO!!!

Working with this client gave us immense knowledge about the client’s expectations, deliverables, communication etc.

From here no looking back. We designed our sales & marketing strategy around our target market and hired the right inside sales team and have achieved the results. 

Hiring hackers

You will find loads of resumes in job boards, Linked In and other platforms but it’s not really easy to hire the one who is not only a brilliant hacker but aligns with the vision and culture of the organization.

We built an online hacker playground which is like a hacker challenge and individuals need to cross 8 levels to get into our company. With this methodology, we hired some smart folks who are handling multiple projects now.

How we are different

Competition is a part and parcel of any business and in Cyber Security stakes are high for the client and hence they are very choosy in selecting their vendor.

Being a new entrant in the market it was really challenging for us to convince large enterprises. Hence we focused on Small and Medium Business (SMB’s) and banked on partners across the globe to pump in projects for us.

Getting a client is just half job done and the most important aspect is delivery, reaching client expectations and having proper communication. So, we really wanted to have a differentiating factor in every task we perform for our client. We just believed in one thing, don’t just reach the client expectation but surpass them. There should be a WOW factor in every company and we made sure to have it.

What next?

We just crossed one year of business and as planned, we are building our first product and expecting the beta in April 2017. Well, not just product, we are adding few more services to our existing forte to provide a comprehensive cyber security solution to our clients.

Closing thoughts

Being a Non-Hacker CEO of a Cyber Security company is definitely a challenging task. But thanks to my team for their fantastic support, guidance from friends and advisors and most importantly my ten years of experience in Technology and Consulting handling clients, operations & management helped me to sail through the first year.

Learning, experimenting something new everyday, working with young talented people, making a fantastic place to work for our employees, celebrating even small successes, working through ups & downs and, day by day improving our service to clients — that’s an amazing experience of running a startup.