Open Talk @DSIM
An Interview with Co-Founder& CEO of ShieldSquare.com, Mr. Pavan Thatha
ShieldSquare is a Bangalore-based start-up was founded in 2013 by siblings Pavan (CEO) and Rakesh Thatha (CTO), along with Vasanth Kumar (COO), Jyoti Kakatkar and Srikanth Konijeti.ShieldSquare’s revolutionary technology identifies and blocks bots that scrape content on Online Portals. ShieldSquare helps online portals to increase their competitiveness, generate more revenues as well as improve the user experience on their site.
Q1. Hi Pavan, it’s a pleasure to be doing this interview with you. Thank you for taking out the time. We are very curious to know more about your business?
For online business (classifieds, news/content portals, E-commerce/marketplaces, Travel Sites), data theft is becoming the major concern that is affecting the competitiveness of the business. The data harvested through site scraping tools is used to illicitly publish valuable information, gain competitor business intelligence and also undercut competitor’s prices. Differentiating site scrapers from genuine web users or search engine crawlers is a big challenge for online businesses. This is exactly where ShieldSquare
comes into the picture and helps websites save their data from being scraped.
Q2. How did the idea of ShieldSquare came to your mind?
Ans. We hit upon this idea when we were at Microsoft Accelerator. Thanks to their Customer Development Program which really helped us see through them and address an unmet need. Already being from the background and our team’s hands-on experience of building security solutions probably might have pushed us into another dimension to provide people with a seamless solution so that they can keep their hard earned data safe.We got in touch with a lot of people and understood the importance and the amount of pressure one goes through to save their unique data
Q3. Pavan, How do you advertise your business?
Ans.One of our major approach is to always think from the shoes of the customer and design email marketing campaigns that are not just educative but also give the customer more insights on how we are capable of solving their pain points. We harness the power of content marketing, online advertising, social media and organic SEO to reach a wide span of audience globally.
Q4. Let our readers know the role of digital marketing in your market initiatives?
Ans We operate in the SaaS based security cloud services space globally and digital marketing comes to our aid than the conventional marketing technique like mass media marketing. Our customers pan across the globe and the only way to market our product is by leveraging on the many facets of digital marketing.Digital marketing as a body of knowledge is vast, however we fine tune the techniques based on our needs and thoroughly implement those that fetch us leads and eventually paid customers.
Q5. Where do you see the future of digital marketing in the industry?
Ans. The future of digital marketing is as bright as a shining star. There is no exaggeration in saying that most retail companies that conventionally started off with on-the- ground marketing are now shifting to the online space to make their presence felt to their customers. Adding to that, there is a tremendous increase in the products and services operating online and for all of them digital marketing is the way to go.
Q6. What are some of the most common issues you see your clients facing & how do you help them?
Ans. The most common issue not just with our clients but with many websites across the globe is the threat of scraping valuable data by bots. ShieldSquare helps overcome such vulnerabilities by helping website owners differentiate human and non-human traffic and take corrective action.We empower our clients to choose from a variety of options that would block unwanted bot activity as per their need.
Q7. Tell us about the services you are currently providing and can we see your company expanding the services in the coming time?
Ans. Our service offerings are as follows:
Online Marketplaces (listings)
We work with listing/classified portals like Real Estate listing portals, Automotive Portals, local search sites to protect their unique listings from being stolen/replicated by other competitor sites. We also help them to prevent spam leads that irritate the advertisers and users of the platform.
Online shopping is on the rise and so are the threats of scraping. The recent case of Myntra and MakkhiChoose is an eye-opener for all ecommerce portals. We work closely with online shopping portals to prevent content and price scraping. We provide a host of options to our clients in terms of security so they can act as per their needs and shun off competitors from scraping their site.
Travel sites usually lose money because of continuous queries for flight tickets, hotel rooms etc. by bots. Read more about it on our recent blog post. We make sure that the bots are blocked on travel sites instantaneously upon being detected real time.
Apart from the above, our services cover the entire gamut of content protection for websites. As we grow, we shall definitely expand our portfolio of services.
Q8 .Who are your major competitors and what is your competitive edge?
Ans. Conventional Intrusion Detection Systems, Web Application Firewalls are ineffective to stop site scrapers. Other bot prevention solutions available require the customer to either deploy an appliance in-house or the traffic to be re-routed through cloud servers which customers are not comfortable with. ShieldSquare’s technology can be seamlessly integrated with an API, making customer adoption easy and comfortable.
Q9. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?
Ans. We raised an Angel round of funding of $350K from Founders of Shaadi.com, Redbus, Matrimony, Freshdeskand Fusioncharts in 2014.
Q10. Pavan, if you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Ans. I see that India is buckling up and getting into the big league with innovative product start-ups sprouting every day. I would like to tell my fellow entrepreneurs only one thing, “Be customer obsessed, always place your customer first and the rest will follow”.
Thank you so much for your time Pavan. It was fantastic talking to you. Best wishes from Team DSIM for your company. Have a good day ahead.