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Data laws will drive big growth for data management firms in India: Bipul Sinha, Rubrik

Data laws will drive big growth for data management firms in India: Bipul Sinha, Rubrik
Bipul Sinha

Palo Alto, California-headquartered cloud data management firm Rubrik set up an innovation center in Bengaluru in 2016 and has since grown its workforce here to 250 people. It is currently on track to put a $50 million investment outlay to work in growing its India operations, which includes developing its client base here. 

Founded in 2014 by Bipul Sinha, Arvind Jain, Soham Mazumdar and Arvind Nithrakashyap, the firm became a unicorn, industry parlance for startups privately valued at $1 billion or more, in record time when it raised a $261 million funding round in January this year. The round valued the five-year old firm at $3.3 billion.

In an interview with TechCircle, IIT Kharagpur alumnus Sinha, who was also a venture capitalist with Lightspeed Venture Partners for nearly a decade, spoke about the growth potential in the government's plan to introduce a new data framework on privacy, localisation and compliance. 

Edited excerpts:

How has the planned $50 million capital deployment for India played out so far? 

We have around 250 people now across product engineering, marketing, product support and other functions. We are ahead of our plans. Globally, in 15 months, we have grown from 800 people to 1,600. The market is huge. We are in the right place at the right time. We are growing across sectors such as manufacturing and financial services. The IT sector is also contributing to our growth here. We partner with all major GCCs in their go-to-market strategies as well as delivery efforts. India is a very important part of this. The operations are carried out in India even if we seal the deal at the global headquarters. 

What do you mean by the “right time” here?

All our competitors have a hardware approach while we have adopted a cloud-centric software approach. For any enterprise, Rubrik is one of the core platforms when they embark on a digital transformation journey. A part of the framework of digital transformation is securing the data. We have established a presence at a time when digital transformation is happening at a rapid pace due to the leapfrogging from low-end technology to high-end technology, skipping several phases along the way. And, if you combine that with all the data frameworks that are being put in place in the country on privacy, localisation or residency, compliance will spur the growth of our business in the country.

But most countries are considering data frameworks similar to GDPR in Europe. How will this help Rubrik grow?

For a five-year-old company, we have had rapid growth so far. Some of these trends are in our favour and have helped in faster adoption of our technologies, but that only accelerated our growth. Data is at the heart of digital transformation or any digital economy. Cybersecurity in some ways is data security as well. Data privacy stipulates stricter data security. 

I am not an advocate of data regulation by governments. But at the same time, these regulations all over the world have helped Rubrik. Data management, in general, increases flexibility to run better applications. Data security helps in compliance too. All these trends have helped us grow.  

With the cloud, data is getting concentrated in a few large companies such as Microsoft, Google or Amazon. These companies would want to do data management in-house. Where does that place you?

If you look at any large enterprise, they follow a multi-cloud strategy and are not betting on one cloud apart from having their own data centre. By the way, we are also delivering data management solutions to all these large cloud players as well. With a single platform, we can provide smooth running of applications across all cloud platforms without worrying about data governance or compliance or security. They don't need to worry about multiple tools or solutions. So with the emergence of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud, while we have an added advantage, our capability to deliver data management in public cloud is as good.

How has the integration of emerging technologies with your offerings helped accelerate returns on investment for customers?

We developed a product called ‘Polaris Radar’ that brings machine learning (ML) to data management solutions to fight the ransomware challenge at large customers. Our policy is to automate the data classification, compliance and the whole cybersecurity piece. We continue to infuse artificial intelligence (AI) and ML in our products. We save a typical enterprise about 30-50% of their cost in data management. This is not including the operational efficiencies that we bring to the table. Most companies already have some kind of system in place and hence the benefits accrued cannot be strictly put on a time scale.

How do you address the implementation challenges of Rubrik's solutions?

Operational simplicity is topmost priority for us. We work with system integrators (SI), who already work with large enterprises to deliver cloud automation and delivery capabilities for large enterprises. They need the SI expertise. All of our business comes through our channel partners including SIs and we don't plan to go solo anytime soon. They act as trusted advisors to large enterprises and our ability to partner and work with them to help enterprises realise the value of our offerings is a better strategy. We have created our business model from the beginning based on this go-to-market strategy.

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