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1Mby1M Deal Radar 2017: RANK Software, Toronto, Canada

Posted on Wednesday, Apr 26th 2017

According to Gartner, 8.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2017 and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020. This explosion in the number of connected devices is also multiplying the potential for cyber-attacks.

Toronto, Canada-based RANK Software provides a security analytics platform called Virtual Advisor to Security Analysts (VASA) that leverages Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for cyber security solutions.

RANK Software was founded in August 2014 by Dr. Niranjan Mayya and Vinish Kathuria. CEO Niranjan Mayya has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Florida, over 22 years’ experience in the technology domain including three patents to his name, and had led the Big Data Analytics team at Blackberry. President Vinish Kathuria, an IIT Delhi alum and Duke University MBA, has over 22 years’ experience at Microsoft and Ericsson.

While working on Big Data marketing solutions at Blackberry, Niranjan realized that Big Data provided high visibility into consumer behaviour and in some cases, rather confidential personal information, which could be misused. Since most of the security solutions were expensive and hardware-oriented that were managed by professionals, they wanted to provide a cyber security platform that would be affordable and easy to use, as easy as iPhone, Siri or Amazon Echo. They wanted to build a “Siri” or “Amazon Echo” of the Security Industry, a virtual assistant for cyber security needs that is driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence.

RANK Software’s main competitors include high-end Palantir and UK-based Darktrace. The main differentiation of RANK Software’s VASA platform is that it is a software-driven model that is easy to install, use, and pay for. VASA helps IT analysts function as security analysts and security analysts function as expert security analysts focusing on looking for new security vulnerabilities.

Its VASA platform works on the principle that each machine in an enterprise has its own security vulnerability and its behaviour has to be taken into account to determine the security vulnerability. Further, it believes in providing relevant context for security vulnerabilities and that all anomalies are not malicious. It reduces false positives by tying in internal and external company information.

It also provides analysts with the capability to proactively hunt for unknown threats that they may have heard about. It also provides all the relevant information needed to easily fix any problems that they encounter.

Its platform is priced between $60,000 and $200,000. It has two pricing models that are based either on the velocity of the data being analysed or the number of users.  Its top target segments are cloud-based professional services and organizations such as government bodies, telecom, financial services, healthcare and defence where enterprise data cannot leave the premises.

Its go-to-market strategy is to have select partners who offer Security Consulting to their customers or who manage security operation centers for their clients. Its first customer was Swisscom in Switzerland, who has been a client for the past two years. Earlier this year, RANK Software partnered with Global Managed Security Service provider Lockheed Martin to offer co-branded cyber security solutions to over 50 global customers. Other customers are from technology, services, and financial services. It has 10 customers and its annual revenue is over $1 million.

Using a bottom up approach, the company estimates that if 10,000 large companies pay $500,000 per year, the market would be worth $5 billion. If 100,000 medium-sized companies pay $100,000 per year, the market would be worth $10 billion. Taking these two target markets into account, RANK Software estimates the TAM to be $15 billion. These estimates seem rather high, but even at 10% of the estimate, the market is sizable.

Rank Software was initially bootstrapped till the revenue stage. In April 2016, Rank Software raised venture funds in a seed round from MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. It is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has offices in Gurgaon, India and Boston, MA.

It is now looking to raise another round of funds. Its ideal investor is someone who understands how a product business grows and who invests in Machine Learning and/or Cyber Security ventures.

Its immediate growth strategy is to find a couple of customers in each market, who would benefit greatly from its solution. After working with them and providing value, it would leverage word of mouth and targeted outreach.

Vinish says RANK Software does not have an exit strategy for the moment. It is focused on adding value for its customers, employees, and shareholders, while trying to stay ahead of the technology and user experience game.

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Deal Radar 2017

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