Neil Patel

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In the heart of every successful venture lies a narrative, a tale of trials, triumphs, and the indefatigable spirit of its creator. Ameesh Divatia, a luminary figure in the tech industry, embodies this spirit, having navigated the tumultuous seas of entrepreneurship, weathered storms of uncertainty, and emerged as a beacon of innovation in cybersecurity.

In a candid interview, Ameesh unveiled the intricacies of his journey, offering insights, wisdom, and a glimpse into the ethos that propelled him forward.

Listen to the full podcast episode and review the transcript here.

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Roots in India, Dreams in Silicon Valley

Born and raised in India, Ameesh’s journey began amidst the vibrant tapestry of a nation pulsating with diversity and resilience. Reflecting on his formative years, he reminisced, “Life was interesting, never without challenges,” yet harboring an unwavering resolve to carve his path.

Armed with ambition and fueled by the allure of the American Dream, Ameesh embarked on a transformative journey to the United States, where the nexus of technology and innovation awaited. He remembers leaving for the US soon after getting his engineering degree.

Although Ameesh didn’t experience much of a cultural shock since he had always been familiar with New York, California was definitely different. However, he couldn’t have imagined a better experience with the kind of opportunities that were available out there.

Ameesh started out with communication networking, but an internship experience after getting his Master’s inspired him to go to Silicon Valley.

A Leap of Faith: From Engineer to Entrepreneur

Stepping foot into the fertile grounds of Silicon Valley, Ameesh immersed himself in the field of technology, rising from a support engineer to the helm of innovation as an architect. The seeds of entrepreneurship took root within him, nurtured by a desire to chart unexplored territories.

Recounting his foray into entrepreneurship, Ameesh shared the pivotal moment when he approached his boss with his desire to start a company.

Armed with the assurance that he could come back within a month if the idea didn’t pan out, Ameesh bid farewell to the security of employment and ventured into the unknown.

Further, if Ameesh wanted to impress investors with his dedication to the company, he would have to demonstrate that he was fully committed to the project. Holding a job was just not the way to go.

PipeLinks: A Tale of Innovation and Tenacity

Ameesh’s entrepreneurial odyssey crystallized with PipeLinks, a pioneering venture that revolutionized communication networks. Crafting a multi-service provisioning platform ahead of its time, PipeLinks epitomized innovation and foresight.

At the time, the Internet was still in its infancy and very expensive. Ameesh wanted to build a platform to take traffic from corporate environments and pipe it into the telecom network. However, getting connectivity cost a lot of money, and everybody had a voice line coming into their environments.

Ameesh’s idea was to build a product where companies could have a single pipe from the telecom provider and have both voice and data. They could also access data with the same kind of service level guarantees that voice has, which is really what made it more enterprise level.

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Raising Funding for PipeLinks

Ameesh vividly recounted the watershed moment when he stood before the titans of venture capital at Sequoia, a testament to the audacity of vision and the power of partnership. Ameesh and his co-founder came up with a brilliant concept, fine-tuned it, and got Cisco fully committed to it.

As Ameesh explains, PipeLinks is actually a Stanford School of Business case study where Cisco wanted to get into a new space, the telecom business. Mostly a data networking company, it would undertake projects where it would fund a company and create a product that can be leveraged and brought into a new market.

Ameesh credits Cisco with always being forward-looking and willing to invest in their venture. The duo was introduced to a Sequoia partner and met with venture capitalist Don Valentine. The most crucial question they had to answer was how well they knew each other.

The investors’ stress was on team dynamics, and luckily, the duo had been kindergarten classmates. Eventually, the dynamics the duo shared saw them through a lot of sacrifices and hard decisions they made for the company.

PipeLinks became very successful and was acquired by Cisco for $126M, which was Ameesh’s first company exit.

Lessons Learned and New Horizons – Founding Aarohi Communications

Navigating the tumultuous currents of entrepreneurship, Ameesh’s journey was punctuated by successes, setbacks, and invaluable lessons. He considers the decision to switch to technology as the best strategic decision he made.

Ameesh used his time at Cisco as an opportunity to be on the marketing side of product, specifically, to learn how product and marketing work. He also learned a lot about how to capture new markets.

Ameesh opines that the investor who writes the first check takes the most risk when starting a company. He decided to help another team that he had seed-funded since he had made a commitment to it and wanted to follow through. He joined the team and recalls that he did not have to wait for six months to get Aarohi Communications going.

As Ameesh points out, the most significant thing about entrepreneurship is the ebbs and flows. They soon had $15M. Nine days later, 9/11 happened, which completely changed everything, bringing the business landscape to a screeching halt.

However, since Ameesh had money in the bank, they were able to weather the storm. An important lesson he learned from this experience was that entrepreneurs should always keep an eye on the macro environment and be agile enough to make changes and adapt when necessary.

Artiman Ventures and Incarta

Exiting the company after its acquisition by Emulex for $39M was a tremendous journey as Ameesh calls it. He got the opportunity to be on the investor side and an entrepreneur in residence when working at Artiman Ventures and being a partner at Incarta.

Ameesh also took on the role of CEO at Lightwire, which was kind of like a turnaround that ended up being a really nice exit to another company, Cisco.

When trying to raise money for the company in his capacity as an advisor, Ameesh realized that investors wanted to know if he had skin in the game. He quickly figured out that if he really wanted to make an impact, he needed to jump in.

Lightwire and the Cisco Acquisition

As Ameesh explains, Lightwire was a very innovative company with the potential to change the world. They were in a position where they had tremendous technology and tremendous innovation but couldn’t find a very good path to market.

Cisco was interested in a very specific innovation and was willing to invest in the company. However, they wanted to make sure that they had somebody that they had worked with before, whom they could trust, and Ameesh became that face.

Lightwire had several different innovations, and the team had to shut everything down except for what Cisco, as the partner at that time, was willing to fund and willing to work with them on. Ameesh recalls how challenging it was for the engineers.

He credits the team’s professionalism in that they actually focused and executed flawlessly. They delivered exactly what we had promised, which was surprising because Cisco is not just interested in components.

They decided to integrate vertically, integrate the team into their organization, and acquire the company for $271M.

Even after the acquisition, Ameesh had a clean slate to run the company and the team. Even so, he recalls that the final hand-off was truly challenging.

Transitioning seamlessly between roles as an entrepreneur, investor, and innovator, Ameesh’s quest for excellence remained unwavering, culminating in his latest endeavor, Baffle.

Baffle: Redefining Cybersecurity

With Baffle, Ameesh embarked on a mission to disrupt the cybersecurity landscape, leveraging encryption, tokenization, and masking to safeguard data at its core. The term Baffle was chosen to project the company’s ethos: to baffle and confuse hackers.

The company built a product to protect the most important asset for all organizations: their data. As Ameesh points out, the cyber security market is very big from the perspective of the number of companies and solutions out there. However, the hacks are unending.

There’s a lot of backlash about how we’re spending $100B in cybersecurity spending, but the hacks continue to happen. One of the biggest reasons is that most cybersecurity solutions are all about observation.

It’s about having a security guard in front of the asset to monitor who’s going in and out. However, the best way to protect the asset is to disguise it in such a way that when the hacker gets in there, he finds just rocks, but within the rock is gold.

At Baffle, they protect data at the record level or the field level, which is done by encrypting, tokenizing, or masking it. The optimum strategy depends on how the data is going to be used downstream, and Baffle does it all the way down at the field level.

So when that data ends up in the cloud, nobody can see it, including the cloud administrator.

This is becoming a massive requirement now for enterprises as they migrate more and more assets to the cloud, where they want a cryptographic guarantee that the cloud service provider cannot actually see their data.

How Baffle Protects Data

Although cloud storage solutions are very secure and complete with protocols, there’s always the risk of somebody pretending to be the cloud service provider administrator by phishing them or somehow getting the credentials of the infrastructure administrators.

Baffle ensures that the cloud service provider’s admin would see encrypted data or tokenized data so that even if somebody pretending to be them gets access to it, the data is useless number 1 number 2. When that data is exfiltrated, it is useless.

Companies need not send out notifications or suffer tremendous reputation damage, which can take years to mend. Even if they lose their customers’ data, it’s encrypted, which means it’s useless for hackers.

Embracing the ethos of proactive security, Baffle’s innovative approach heralds a paradigm shift, empowering enterprises to fortify their defenses against evolving threats. As Ameesh explains, Baffle is not reliant on the organization’s security budget but is a part of its infrastructure budget.

Baffle is a part of the data pipelines as soon as data is created, protecting it so that the organization can never ever be considered liable for it. The secret sauce, though, is how to actually process that data, ingest it into data pipelines, and send it to the cloud.

Essentially, Baffle is the strategy to process that data in the cloud without again, anybody seeing it. The concept is known as privacy-preserving analytics, where you’re able to get insight from data without actually decrypting it.

That’s the secret sauce when it comes to the next generation of analytics, which is really any kind of interaction or generative AI. Now. Companies have become required to share data, and that’s where this solution becomes even more critical.

Now, companies can share data without actually compromising the privacy of the people who actually provided that data to their customers. Baffle has attracted funding worth $36.5M.

Storytelling is everything which is something that Ameesh Divatia was able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend Peter Thiel (see it here), where the most critical slides are highlighted.

Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.

Triumph Amidst Adversity: The SVB Crisis

Ameesh’s mettle was tested once again in the crucible of crisis as Silicon Valley Bank faced imminent peril. Confronting uncertainty with resilience and resolve, he navigated the challenges, instilling faith in his team and forging alliances with long-term partners and VCs.

The crisis underscored the importance of trust, resilience, and the enduring spirit of collaboration that defines the tech community.

A Legacy of Mentorship and Giving Back

As Ameesh reflects on his journey, he remains steadfast in his commitment to mentorship and community building. Embracing the ethos of giving back, he extends a helping hand to aspiring entrepreneurs, paying forward the wisdom and support bestowed upon him.

In a world driven by innovation, collaboration, and shared aspirations, Ameesh’s legacy serves as a guiding light, illuminating the path for future trailblazers.

Listen to the full podcast episode to know more, including:

  • Ameesh’s journey underscores the importance of trusting your instincts and believing in your vision, even in the face of uncertainty.
  • Collaborative partnerships with visionary investors like Sequoia and strategic alliances with industry leaders such as Cisco were pivotal in Ameesh’s entrepreneurial success.
  • Through innovation and resilience, Ameesh navigated through the dot-com bubble burst, economic downturns, and even banking crises, emerging stronger each time.
  • Baffle’s revolutionary approach to cybersecurity emphasizes proactive measures like encryption, tokenization, and masking, offering a shield against evolving cyber threats.
  • Ameesh’s commitment to mentorship and giving back highlights the importance of nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs and fostering a culture of collaboration and support.
  • Ameesh’s ability to pivot, adapt, and transition seamlessly between roles as an entrepreneur, investor, and innovator underscores the importance of versatility in the ever-changing tech landscape.
  • Ameesh’s journey exemplifies the qualities of visionary leadership, perseverance, and unwavering determination that define successful entrepreneurs, inspiring others to pursue their dreams fearlessly.



For a winning deck, see the commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here). 

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The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks

Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.


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Neil Patel

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