For Verkada co-founder and CEO Filip Kaliszan, building a company focused on physical security and data protection stems from a void he saw in the market. Kaliszan came up with a smart security camera system geared toward businesses and schools, which combines state-of-the-art video technology with its cloud-based software.
“There are a ton of companies that sell connected devices for your home or business that can collect data, but they are very antiquated in their approach,” he said.
Verkada differs from traditional security camera companies in the way it stores its data and how video footage can be reviewed, Kaliszan said. One difference is the accessibility of live video streams, which can be viewed by multiple people during a crisis, he said.
“We think of as moving from after-the-fact-devices where when something bad happens, you look at the footage and investigate,” Kaliszan said. “We’re bringing in a real-time solution where you can make sense of the as something is happening so that you can alert the right people.” The cameras, which can be installed globally across multiple office buildings, can be accessed from anywhere via an internet connection or a smartphone.
Moreover, the data security of customers’ video recording is paramount, said Kaliszan. In the past decade, most security cameras have been connected to an internet network, “but in just the last two-three years, a lot of focus has turned to how data is secured.”
Verkada user’s video recordings are encrypted “end to end,” which is especially important to schools and hospitals “where they really care about the private information they are capturing,” he said. The company also does not have access to any of its customers’ footage, he noted. All of the data is stored in the cloud.
Verkada’s product only launched publicly less than a year ago, but in the past six months, the company has increased its client count from 20 to more than 300. Kaliszan added that Verkada no longer plans to raise funds as its revenue is expected to continue to increase.The company makes money by selling the cameras and its software as a service. Its clients include Hilton Hotels, Equinox, Netflix, Morgan Hill Unified School District and Yuma School District, among others.
Kaliszan said the company has already been surprised by the ways that the clients have used the system. In schools, for example, principals and teachers have been using the system “to investigate student altercations.” For large retail customers, managers have been using it as a training tool to show an accelerated time lapse to see where the busy areas are,” he said.
“Our customers are expanding the product’s capabilities in all of these interesting use cases.”
Learn from your customers: “I’m always amazed by what you can learn,” said Kaliszan. “You study the market and come up with a solution, but when you see what they are doing with it in real life situations, that drives the next level of renovations.”
Product execution is crucial: “Doing things right and making sure that the experience works right out of the box has driven our early success,” he said. “In the early days of a startup, it’s crucial how seamlessly the product works and tackles the customer’s needs.”
Communication among the team is key: “We think a lot about how you structure your company internally, the company team and the culture,” said Kaliszan. “In my mind, it’s all about excellent communication, experience and candor. You can’t arrive at innovation, you can’t build an awesome product without it.”