BANGALORE: After Facebook’s acquisition of Bangalore-based Little Eye Labs earlier this month, it’s Google that has now bought a three-year-old startup that had two Indians — Vish Ramarao and Naveen Jamal — as co-founders and offices in Bangalore and California. The startup, Impermium, had a third co-founder Mark Risher.
Jamal was based in Bangalore and looked after the office here, while Ramarao and Risher were based in California. All three had previously worked together in Yahoo and came out of it in 2010 to found Impermium. The startup focused on building security products for websites.
Impermium’s website now has just a note from Risher, who was the CEO, with the headline ‘Impermium is joining Google’. It goes on to say: “By joining Google, our team will merge with some of the best abuse fighters in the world. With our combined talents we’ll be able to further our mission and help make the internet a safer place. We’re excited about the possibilities.”
Impermium had received $9 million in funding from a host of venture firms including Accel Partners, AOL Ventures, Charles River Ventures and Highland Capital Partners. Google has not disclosed the terms of its deal with Impermium.
Acquisitions of India-based startups by the likes of Google and Facebook are expected to provide a big boost to the startup ecosystem. Not too many India-based startups have had great exits yet, but the latest instances look to be changing that trend. Software product startup associations like iSpirt are actively engaged in trying to marry Indian startups with global ones.
Jamal is originally from Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, went to the US to study, worked as a software engineer in a small US company and then joined Yahoo in 1998. He moved to Bangalore around the time Impermium was being founded and established the office here. Ramarao is from Bangalore, went to the US for higher studies, and has since been there.
Prior to Impermium, all three co-founders were in Yahoo Mail, where they dealt with problems of spam, web security and fraudulent account creation. In an interview to TOI early last year, Risher said they realized that the problems they dealt with weren’t an issue with just Yahoo’s services but rather a problem with every website on the internet, and that encouraged them to found Impermium.
Risher said the company had built a number of services that worked as a risk-determination system, which could help identify when an account had been compromised. The system calculates the risk from parameters like where you accessed the account from, the device software and historical usage pattern of the links you’re posting.
And Risher then had this to say about his new employer: “Security is always a balance between convenience and safety. And a complete overhaul (of the password system) becomes difficult. Google talked about an RFID ring that you would wear and which would transfer a secure certificate. Yes it would work but it would be a hassle and everybody would have to buy a reader. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Impermium has said it has 300,000 clients, including Tumblr, Pinterest, CNN, ESPN, Typepad and Washington Post.