Appknox’, a mobile security company co-founded by SPJIMR alumnus Prateek Panda, has raised Singapore dollars 875,000 (INR 43.5 million) in its first major venture capital funding led by SeedPlus Singapore Pte Ltd.
The funding was announced in Singapore and India this week and has set the stage for rapid expansion of Appknox, which will use the newly infused capital to grow its range of offerings in the Southeast Asian market, notably its cloud-based mobile security solution for businesses in the region.
Singapore-based Appknox launched its mobile security solution last year, starting with India, where it quickly grew its customer base on the back of a robust offering to a market that is expanding at breakneck speed. Appknox’s customers in India include leading e-commerce and payments businesses like Paytm, Times Internet, BigBasket and CitrusPay.
The funding announced this week is a part of a Pre-Series A round led by SeedPlus, a new seed stage VC firm backed by Jungle Ventures, Infocomm Investments, Accel Partners and RNT Associates.
Said Prateek Panda, who is the CMO of Appknox and is from SPJIMR’s PGDM class of 2015, “I started working on Appknox while I was still in business school. The management at SPJIMR, my professors, and peers have been a great support, helping me balance education and a young start-up simultaneously. I was given the flexibility to undertake the Appknox project in exchange for certain courses. The new incubation programme is very promising and I am hopeful many successful start-ups will come out of SPJIMR soon.”
The funding was celebrated at SPJIMR’s Start-up Incubation Centre, which currently nurtures, mentors and advises fledgling ventures and provides help and support to turn a range of ideas into viable business offerings. SPJIMR also links start-ups with business leaders and funders by leveraging on its stature and standing in the area of MBA education and the large SPJIMR alumni network.
The Head of SPJIMR’s Start-up Incubation Centre, Shirish Kotmire, said, “Appknox is a classic example of the kind of work we do at SPJIMR, supporting and enabling an on-campus initiative. This helps catalyse the conversion of an innovative idea in an exciting space like mobile app security and helps our participants lay a solid foundation for a sustainable business.”
Said Dr. Ranjan Banerjee, who is the Dean at the Mumbai-based SPJIMR, “Prateek Panda is liked and admired by many of our current students and we are confident that he will inspire many to find the courage to walk the road less travelled.”
Tiang Lim Foo, Operating Partner at SeedPlus, who will join the Appknox Board, said, “We are always on the lookout for start-ups with cutting-edge technology, promising ideas and a great founding team. Given the explosive growth in mobile apps and smartphone users globally, security will only be more important as the next billion smartphone users get online. Appknox is well poised to tap on this huge opportunity.”
Appknox is known for its cutting-edge technology that enables businesses to run security analysis on cloud-based emulation engines without having to share any source code. Users can just go ahead and point to the URL of any app on the app store and Appknox will provide results within a few minutes. Appknox is also the first in the industry to launch an automated dynamic emulation engine for the iOS platform allowing businesses to tackle challenges faced with analyzing iOS applications.Appknox is already working with startups and a range of companies to help build a safe and secure mobile ecosystem for businesses and consumers in Southeast Asia. It has signed up with companies like RedMart, a fast-growing online grocery service in Singapore, and HOOQ, a digital entertainment service, reflecting the appetite for Appknox’s offerings and the robustness of its solutions.
A report by Gartner suggests that by 2017, more than 75% of mobile apps will fail basic security checks. Appknox recently conducted a study of over 100,000 apps in Google Play Store and found more than 85% of them to be failing basic security checks.