Our story so far and introducing free web filtering and 1:1 management for schools

Skip to the invitation request page: http://www.securly.com/features/free

Two years ago, we co-founded Securly after having spent several years building enterprise security products. The genesis of Securly was when Vinay observed his six year old nephew accidentally stumble upon an unsafe YouTube video on an iPad. Given our entrepreneurial interests and backgrounds in security – this was the perfect “opportunity” we were seeking. We immediately quit our jobs at McAfee and Huawei-Symantec, and built an OpenDNS+Barracuda combo focused on K-12 needs. School IT admins now enjoyed the simplicity of a 5-min DNS based deployment and the granularity of full-blown proxy or appliance vendors. Our invention had found an instant product-market fit as IT admins latched onto the cloud-based alternative to traditional appliances vision.

However, what started as a purely entrepreneurial pursuit changed into a “double bottom-line” mission statement the minute we stepped into a school campus where we saw Securly in action keeping the students focused and safe online – a truly surreal moment for us. This was at our first customer school here – Milpitas Unified – in the Silicon Valley area. We wondered if two immigrant engineers with no sales background could dream of selling to the rest of the United States – especially when schools are known to be hard to sell to. Driven purely by our mission, we pursued the idea and realized that K-12 was in fact the best thing that happened to us. We have found IT admins and Educators from schools across the country, affluent or otherwise underserved, rural and urban, to be extremely welcoming of EdTech start-ups and are a lot more forgiving than the pure enterprise and consumer markets we were used to.

This reciprocity from the community we set out to serve fueled our passion even more. We met amazing individuals who helped shape our product and business – customers, partners, evangelists, and investors such as Imagine K-12 and FOUNDER.org. Some of these individuals are now part of Securly – Awais Ahsan and Maurice McClain who spent most of their careers as a math teacher and school IT admin respectively – and continue to make a dent in education now through Securly.

In the two years we’ve been providing our web-filtering product to schools, we’ve run into a number of situations wherein schools in underserved communities simply did not have the resources to afford a good web-filtering solution. We’ve had IT admins in these schools tell us that more than half of their meager EdTech budget was often allocated to acquiring a web-filter. In these situations, Securly was often a solution that addressed a mandated requirement with a disruptively low price-point. Still, we have always asked ourselves if we could do better.

Introducing “securlyFree”: Securly’s DNS to Proxy innovation and 1:1 Chromebook, Windows and Macbook management solutions all have a light operational footprint and this allows us to offer a “lite” version of the product for free – perpetually – for any school that wants to use it. However, like most enterprise “freemium” business models, we are also expecting a fraction of the schools who try us for free to eventually become paid customers and referrers. This move aligns with the company’s “double bottom-line” goal of helping the neediest of schools while bringing a key business model innovation to the table.

Though this “securlyFree” version of the product will have caps on usage that will meet the requirements of under-served schools, it will continue to bring to these schools the full range of innovations we pioneer. The hope is to allow schools around the world to be able benefit from safe online education using 21st century tools such as YouTube, search and Wikipedia – freely and easily.


Vinay & Bharath – Co-founders of Securly://

Request an invite: http://www.securly.com/features/free


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