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1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Biplab Adhya and Venu Pemmaraju of Wipro Ventures (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Nov 8th 2018

Sramana Mitra: I want to ask you one question about the cyber security practice of Wipro and how all these investments play into the dynamics of that. One thing we are hearing from CISOs is that they are bombarded with vendors trying to sell them solutions.

Cyber security is one of the most active spaces for both startups as well as venture activity. There are a lot of vendors who are trying to get mind share with CISOs and CIOs. What is your guidance to this community of entrepreneurs who are trying to sell into these buyers? For small vendors to get mindshare, it’s very difficult. How do you navigate this dynamics?

Venu Pemmaraju: That’s a great question. Some of our value propositions are crafted around the question that you just indicated. I don’t know what advice I have for others. This is our value proposition to the companies that we have invested in. Because there is so much noise, the CISOs are also looking for somebody who is a trusted advisor to them and who can eliminate some of the noise from the signal.

The fact that we see a lot of the companies in this particular space and have chosen some should give these CISOs some comfort that these are best-in-class. We’re not saying that these are the only companies that are the best, but these are definitely best-in-class companies. We have done a fairly good evalution of the landscape to come to the conclusion that these are perhaps the right ones for us to not just partner with but also to invest in.

To your point, that is one of the value propositions that Wipro Ventures brings. So far, we’ve been pretty successful in delivering on the promise that we have made to some of these startups. It is not surprising that a lot of these cyber security startups do have partnerships with resellers or value-added players like us. Going directly to some of these CISOs is a challenge. I don’t think we have a silver bullet.

Sramana Mitra: The only thing that I would add to that is, people have to get to a Series B situation to get a Wipro or an Accenture to adapt them as a solution. Before that, they have to get mindshare of, at least, a critical mass of CISOs somehow. This is becoming harder and harder to do.

Biplab Adhya: This is where choosing your investors is also very important. Before strategic investors dive into an investment, it is important to make sure that your early investors do have the reach into some of these individuals who are managing the security operations of large institutions. I think it’s important for entrepreneurs to look at those investors who can not only guide them in building up a company but also have the necessary reach into the security organizations of large companies.

Sramana Mitra: Yes, absolutely. What trends are you seeing in your deal flow?

Venu Pemmaraju: We tend to see a couple of things. One is that companies that come to us even at an earlier stage show a better sign of maturity with regards to what they have achieved versus what one would see a few years back.

Sramana Mitra: There’s more bootstrapping going on.

Venu Pemmaraju: Yes. Point number two is because of that, the expectation of the size of the round and the amount of money that the company would raise in a particular round is higher. That is one type of trend. The other type of trend in terms of sectors is that at this point, there is a lot of activity. From a software infrastructure standpoint and whole DevOps automation with all the adjacencies around cloud migration, we see a huge amount of activity in that space that is of interest to us. It doesn’t mean that there other areas that are not active but we are not investing a lot of time there.

This segment is part 4 in the series : 1Mby1M Virtual Accelerator Investor Forum: With Biplab Adhya and Venu Pemmaraju of Wipro Ventures
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