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30 Entrepreneurs Of The Year 2018

Accelerating the World’s Transition to Quantum Safe Security: QuNu Labs

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Bangalore-based QuNu is the sole Indian company in the Quantum Safe-Cryptography space. QuNu Labs uses sophisticated algorithms and high precision optics to create a quantum key distribution system, and a Quantum Random Number Generators (QRNG), which provide for an unconditionally secure optical link.

Since Quantum Cryptography is a cutting-edge technology and the arrival of Quantum computers is imminent, QuNu Labs positioned itself as the company with a mission to “Accelerate world’s transition to Quantum Cryptography”. The firm is driven by the strong belief that in the next 18-36 months, organizations who have taken proactive steps to include Quantum Cryptography as a part of their Cyber Security Strategy will see higher success compared to organizations that do not.

QuNu Labs’ primary product range deals with Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and it aims to build QRNG and QKD products with established protocols but with optimizations and indigenous design which allows the company to cut costs significantly to accelerate its mass adoption. Although, QuNu has started with building and commercializing Quantum cryptography products and solutions, it is continuously exploring new protocols and methods to enhance the value proposition and accelerate time to value and will be churning out products that are set to revolutionize this field forever.

The company’s target clients are tech savvy banks, datacenter and cloud service providers, defense organizations, govt. enterprises managing critical information infrastructure and telecom and datacom service providers.

The Inception of QuNu Labs

The company was incorporated in September 2016 after nearly 4 years of research, carried out at IIT-Madras. Headquartered in Bangalore, QuNu is incubated with IIT-Madras with the aim of collaborating with academia to conduct research on advanced versions of cybersecurity and build new technology and products surrounding it.

Founded by Mark Mathias, and Anil Prabhakar, and co-promoted by Sunil Gupta - QuNu stands for Qu(quantum) Nu(light). The founders and co-promoters  are all veterans of the industry and have already set up successful businesses. Initially, the company went full steam ahead with the Alpha build of its first product, the QNL-X100 and began to understand the limitations and challenges of the technology. Eventually, after three iterations the company has found success and a better product-market mix.

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QuNu’s first product the QNL-X100 is nearing completion of the Beta Prototype. It is its ingenious adaptations of the standard Differential Phase Shift protocol and indigenous development of certain subassemblies resulting in significant cost savings which made QuNu stand out. Further, the company has been dynamic to modify its strategy and roadmap to align itself better with market realities and expect to make some radical announcements soon. QuNu believes it is the conviction to persevere against all odds, will make it a winner.

Challenges on the Stairway to Success

QuNu had many formidable challenges, since building something sophisticated; using precision optics and high-speed electronics is demanding. Furthermore, building a core team with required expertise, procuring components with long lead time to build optics and electronics as well as the high cost of the some of the specialized components were the biggest challenges.

The company addressed these problems with a steady and smart approach. QuNu used the personal network to identify like-minded people and build a core team. At times, the firm took components on loan from academic institutes to manage long lead time and indigenized some of the specialized components like Single Photon Detectors to reduce cost and procurement time of those components. Further explorations into the quantum domain meant it needed equipment and parts which had to be sourced from different countries.

Ensuring availability of required funding was another challenge. However, long-term view and understanding of investors helped QuNu in getting next rounds of funding. Regular demonstration of progress and validation of its technology and mission by Govt. and Defense units and winning awards and recognitions ensured the inflow of funds as well.

In addition, the company experienced challenges that startups largely face, in terms of attracting the right talent, seeking strategic partners, and identifying early adopters of this technology.  But constraints have brought out the creativity in the QuNu team, whether monetarily or technologically and have only led to the growth and development of the company.

The Future Roadmap

QuNu has learned that due diligence and careful planning are the keys to success in any R&D venture. It has also learned a lot about the practical realities of the market and some inherent limitations of the technology and is accordingly modifying the original roadmap not only in terms of products but also timelines.

The company’s present focus area is to build and deploy products and solutions that offer perfectly random and secure key to ensure a quantum safe end to end encryption. The future focus would also be to expand the scope of its Quantum Safe Security Solutions to cover data archival and storage and effective Key Management Systems in the Post Quantum era.

CEO Corner

Sunil Kumar Gupta, Co-Promoter and CEO: Sunil has over 30 years of experience in leading R&D, Product Development and Business Development functions in various capacities as CTO, COO, and CEO. He has led tech companies of different sizes to accelerate growth and enhance profitability through customer and business-centric approach. With deep desire, belief and focus on creating more value for clients, he has been exploring and deploying new business and revenue models.

Sunil has a B.Tech in Computer Science from NIT, Trichy, India and has a vast experience working with clients in U.S, EMEA and APAC regions. He has worked on some of the industry’s first and leading products and solutions in Telecom and BFSI space such as World’s first Geostationary satellite-based communication system -Thuraya, Finacle banking Suite and India’s first AI power cyber security platform - AI.saac.  With a strong belief in ecosystem innovation, Sunil has created ecosystems of technology partners, academic institutions, system integrators and suppliers to fuel new ideas, new value propositions, and to accelerate time to market.

“We are a disruptive game changer in the market and we will eventually lead the transition of the world to Quantum safe Systems.”

keep in touch: qunulabs.in