By Ritwik Mukherjee
It's a classic start-up story: Two brainy engineers start work on a project, find that it has commercial potential, shake themselves up for start-up money (one sells his paintings and the other dips into his stipend) and come up with an application that works.
That, in short, is the story of how Bikash Barai and Nilanjan De thought of iViz while studying at IIT Kharagpur. Two-and a-half years down the road, Barai and De run India's only on-demand network security firm.
"We always wanted to do something different and something on our own. While working on Network Security and Simulation of Ethical Hackers (their project), we found the deficiencies in the existing system or solutions available. We thought if we could take care of these deficiencies, we could stand out. That thinking was the beginning of iViz," says Barai.
Barai, who is also a painter, is already credited with several innovations in the area of network security and anti-spam technologies and has filed for patents under his name.
De's expertise is in vulnerability research and exploitation techniques, network security, and kernel security. To get started, Barai and De took up a pilot project worth $1,000 from a US-based company called eRev-Max.
The client was so impressed with their work that it ended up angel investing in iViz. With this investment, iViz built a team and finally took the product to market.
The technology proved to be an eye opener for several governments as well as non-government organisations. In January this year, IDG Ventures invested $2.5 million in iViz.
Last year, the Kolkata-based startup had revenues of Rs 60-65 lakh, but expects to do an impressive Rs 8-10 crore this financial year. "But more than these figures, we want to be the global leader in the field of penetration testing/security testing," says Barai. Just the sort of stretch target a start-up needs.