03 Aug Lucideus Goes From Elevator Pitch To Silicon Valley High-Flyer
It takes a mentor to raise a cybersecurity startup
– Steve Morgan, Editor-in-Chief
Sausalito, Calif. – Aug. 2, 2020
“Tell me what your product does in 15 seconds,” said John Chambers, CEO at JC2 Ventures, and former executive chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems.
That was in 2018, when Chambers bumped into Saket Modi, co-founder and CEO at Lucideus, at a tech conference.
Modi didn’t hesitate. His elevator pitch went like this:
“I created a product which takes in signals of security metrics across IP addresses of the entire network — routers, servers, storage, endpoints, etc. — and creates a score of zero to five with actionable insights for every single IP address on your network. And you know the overall risk you are sitting on.”
Chambers was hooked and invited Modi to his home. Two weeks later JC2 led an investment round that pumped $4 million into Lucideus.
Since the chance encounter two years ago, Chambers has been spending an hour each week with Modi on setting the culture of the company, product vision, go-to-market strategy, and final interviews with senior hires.
Cybercrime Radio: Saket Modi, co-founder & CEO at Lucideus
From Calcutta, India to Silicon Valley
Modi, born and raised in Calcutta, India, struggled with high school chemistry. So he hacked it.
His chem teacher stored exam questions in a Word doc on the classroom computer. Modi snuck in before a test, downloaded a password-protected file, and used a brute force cracker that granted him access to the questions two hours later.
Afterwards, Modi felt guilty and confessed to his teacher.
Too curious for his own good, Modi learned what may have been his most valuable high school lesson — and went on to research cybercrime and cybersecurity while studying computer science in college.
Modi met Vidit Baxi and Rahul Tyagi at the LMN Institute of Information Technology, one of the top institutions of higher learning in India. The students discussed forming their own business.
Modi asked his father, a lifelong entrepreneur, about starting up a company, and was told, “This is why you were born.”
The 3 college buddies launched Lucideus and initially offered penetration testing and related cybersecurity services. Operating in internet time, the venture quickly evolved into a product and then a platform company.
Cyber Risk Quantification
Early on, the Lucideus vision was to digitize digital risk — to provide a risk score across people, process and technology in an organization.
Modi, the chief sales officer, on a zero marketing budget, signed 100 customers in the first two years of operation.
Lucideus’ revenues and the venture funding led to its SAFE product line, which assesses risk across people, process, internal technology, external technology, and cybersecurity products, for its customers — hundreds of Fortune 2000 companies.
SAFE stands for security assessment framework for enterprise and is described as an enterprise-wide, objective, unified, real-time cyber risk quantification (CRQ) platform which incorporates both technical & business aspects with an output for prioritized decision making.
Modi’s pitch to CISOs: nothing’s more important than quantifying your risk.
Saket Modi, Lucideus co-founder & CEO
What is SAFE?
Lucideus expanded to the U.S. in 2018, setting up operations in Palo Alto, Calif. when Chambers and JC2 got involved. Modi moved to the Bay Area and his co-founders remained in India where they are heavily involved with engineering.
In 2019, Lucideus raised another $7 million in venture funding led by MS&AD Ventures out of Menlo Park, Calif.
The fledgling company is now India’s highest valued cybersecurity startup with more than 200 employees in the U.S., India, and Singapore, and has recorded triple-digit growth over the past 5 years.
Lucideus’ last quarter, during the COVID-19 pandemic, was the best in its history. This was fueled by a surge in inquiries and demand from CISOs looking to cut their budgets by figuring out which people, processes and technologies are the best security ROI.
Chambers, a Silicon Valley luminary, calls Lucideus a game-changer in the cybersecurity space. And Modi, ever the student, calls Chambers his chief mentor.
– Steve Morgan is founder and Editor-in-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures.
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Lucideus develops An Enterprise Wide, Objective, Unified, Real Time Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) platform which incorporates both technical & business aspects with an output for prioritized decision making.
Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) platform helps businesses measure and mitigate the cyber risk posture of the organization in real-time and brings out actionable insights, enabling business leaders to make an informed cybersecurity decision
As technology continues to proliferate, businesses will need Cyber Risk Quantification (CRQ) to stay a step ahead in the digital world.