Information Security Pro: Innefu Labs Setting Up New Standards in the IoT Domain
Innefu Labs is a leading Multi-factor Authentication Solutions provider implementing multiple authentication form factors including Facial Biometrics at the TCP / IP Protocol stack.
In the new technological playground called the web; everyone needs information security via specialized products. And Innefu Labs offers just what you desire—a complete gamut of Information Security services under one roof.Its services include network and Web applications vulnerability and assessment, two factor authentications, customized products development etc.
The Men behind Innefu Labs
Abhishek Sharma, the Co-Founder: currently heads the technology wing at Innefu Labs, a research oriented information security group and a developer of niche and innovative cyber security solutions including two factor authentication, open source intelligence, social media monitoring and email encryption solutions.
Having started his career with TCS, where he grew through the ranks quickly and achieved multiple awards including Excellence award in 2007 and Rising star award in 2008, Abhishek is a SAP certified solution consultant and has extensive experience of working with major international clients including Johnson and Johnson, Premier Foods, Britvic etc. He is also certified in CPIM (Business Processes) by APICS USA.
Tarun Wig, the Co-Founder a self-made entrepreneur and business executive with a decade long outstanding track record in building, growing and leading high-performing, startups in India. Currently involved full time at Innefu Labs, a research oriented information security group.
Prior to this, he co-founded two companies, Appin Knowledge Solutions and Appin Security Group that received a combined valuation of over INR 140 million by Valpro, a leading PE firm. While Appin knowledge solutions provided training and consultation to corporate and educational institutes in niche technologies such as Information Security, Nanotechnology and Embedded Robotics, Appin security group provided information security services for corporate customers across the globe.
BW Disrupts’ Soumya Gupta interacts with Abhishek Sharma & Tarun Wig, the Co-Founders of Innefu Labs.
How has your startup journey turned till now?
In 2010, we realized that India has a huge space for cyber security development organizations, a demand which was parallel to the growing IT industry of India. And if you check the statistics you would realize that in 2005 the entire turnover of Indian IT industry was equivalent to turnover generated by Microsoft and Nokia alone which had one tenth of the manpower of entire India IT industry. Moreover, businesses in India were acutely dependent on the imported security solutions in the field of IT and cyber security. So both of us decided to fill the unmet demands of the industry and we got success in it. Moreover, cyber security is directly proportional to the security of a nation, and if you are using foreign security products, you are more prone to attacks. Because you are leaving behind your foot marks on t wet sand. From day one, Innefu has developed a niche in the indigenous cyber security product.
Brief us about your startup?
Innefu Labs is a leading Multi-factor Authentication Solutions provider implementing multiple authentication form factors including Facial Biometrics at the TCP / IP Protocol stack. The integrated Authentication platform can be integrated in all applications of the organization thereby providing secure authentication in any and every application. Innefu Multifactor Authentication solution is focused on helping IT organizations in securing their SAP ERP, Corporate Email, VPN, Remote Server Logins, Cloud Infrastructure, Web Applications and other critical applications with multiple layers of protection and can be integrated without depending on end point applications for integration.
Tell us about the current traction of your business?
We have approximately 50 to 51 clients. Important clients are DRDO, National Housing Bank, Mahindra and Mahindra etc.
How do you think you stand out from your competitors?
Although there are many established competitors in the market who are providing the Multi-Factor Authentication but their solutions are dependent on end point applications for integrations. While VPN and Firewall vendors have made provisions for MFA but majority of the applications cannot be directly integrated with Multi-Factor Authentication. As a result, critical applications such as mail clients, SAP etc. are more susceptible to cyber-attacks.
What were your biggest challenges in setting up this business?
The biggest challenge we faced was acceptability from the Information security ecosystem in the country. A lot of organizations wanted us to get our products empanelled in Gartner. This is despite the fact that we are already OATH certified (The First Indian company to get this certification). Apart from that, AuthShield is a very unique product which can be implemented in applications such as mail clients on smart phones / desktops, SAP etc – This is a unique feature which is not available in any other authentication solution in the market. A lot of clients are not aware that such a solution exists and can be easily implemented in their architecture. As a result we had to do a lot of Proof of Concepts and demonstrations to get the clients to understand the solution and figure how different and unique it is comparing to their existing solutions.
Can you tell us about your present funding status?
The initial investment for Innefu was made by the Co-Founders themselves. The initial investment was all used for salaries for the R&D Team. Innefu has been a profitable venture so far. We haven’t taken any angel round of funding. We are in talks with separate VCs for the fund-raising, and one of them has already done a valuation process. However, since the talks are yet to conclude, we would not like to name the investors.
What about the future Investment plans?
The company is looking to raise between $3 million and $3.5 million in funding by diluting 20 to 25 per cent stake of the company
Share with us your Marketing plans please?
Our Go-To-Market strategy is to tie-up with Tier 2 and Tier 3 channel partners. We actively get involved in direct sales for large volumes clients and our business for SME's and MSME's is dominantly handled by channel sales. We are planning for major tie-ups in this financial year. From the research and development perspective, we are working on Artificial Intelligence to aid on Vocal and Facial recognition.
Whom do you see as your competition?
Overseas companies such as RSA and VASCO and US-based Noatta can be considered a competition as they too function in the same segment.
What are future plans for the next 5 years?
In 2016 – 2017, we intend to cover the whole Indian market and target South East Asia, Africa, Sri Lanka, and Asia Pacific as potential markets for the future. We believe that our unique points give us a strong edge over other players in the authentication market and we should be able to treble our revenues in the coming year. The team size would also increase accordingly. Since we are already undergoing evaluation for series funding, we would like to reveal the expansion plans in detail later, once the evaluation is complete. In terms of R&D we are working on implementing authentication in embedded devices to cater for the fast increasing IoT market.
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