Rishi Bhargava, Demisto, co-founder, emphasizes learning, problem solving & marketing at IIT Startups Mixer

Ritu Jha-


Surrounded by aspiring entrepreneurs at the IIT(Indian Institutes of Technology) Startups Mixer last month when Rishi Bhargava, co-founder of Demisto was asked his opinion on being lucky, with a pause he said, “It’s a series of things happening in the right sequence.”

“Yes, there is luck but at the same time all those series of things you can influence matters,” said Bhargava, whose company Demisto was acquired by Palo Alto Networks early this year for $560 million.

Indian origin, Bhargava, who served as Vice President of Demisto and was responsible for marketing says, “Luck matters.” but he also believes there is more to it, to be at the right place at the right time and not just being lucky enough, but to put more effort in to reach the goal.

An Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi 1999 batch alumni, Bhargava, presently serves as Vice President, Product Strategy, Palo Alto Networks.

He came to the US on F1 Visa to earn a Master’s degree in computer science, like many others, got converted to an H1-B and is a permanent resident in the US. He is known as a young visionary in technology among fellow engineers in Silicon Valley for holding over a dozen patents in the area of Computer Security.  When asked about the meaning of “Demisto,” he said, “D plus (+) Mist, it means removing the mist.”

”In cyber security, you are removing the noise and focusing on what is important.”

Started in 2015, Demisto focuses on security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) tools that helps security teams accelerate incident response, standardize and scale processes, and learn from each incident while working together.

Talking to indica on the sidelines of the IIT Startups Mixer, when asked if he thinks he entered the market at the right time, when just a year ago Sony Pictures Entertainment was hacked by a group called Guardians of Peace and before that Yahoo and Target was hacked, Bhargava said ”(Although many things have) happened, in any entrepreneurial journey you have to find a problem that is big enough that customers care enough and you think you can solve it better than others.”

And to understand the market’s need he said that they did a lot of customer conversation, even before they started, and understood where the problem lies and the issues in cyber security companies faced.

When asked but technology keeps changing, he agreed and said that “It’s a constant thing, so you need to keep innovating.

“There were a lot of challenges as well. The biggest one was to figure out the right problem that is big enough to solve and then finding the right way to articulate that to customers for a sale.”

“The biggest learning (experience) to me was that you need to always keep thinking about whether you are relevant today. Whether you are doing the right thing and can you continue to improve yourself. It’s called growth mindset,” said Bhargava. “You need to continue as an entrepreneur to be better every day, be better at marketing, sales, product, and that is the biggest (issue) and if you don’t do that somebody will go ahead and replace you.”

On the common sales issues that IIT Engineers face, and how he has learned sales, Bhargava agrees that experience matters but says one can learn over time and can build that skill, but you have to sell first five products yourself.

“I think marketing and sales is nothing but a different problem that you need to solve,” Bhargava said with a smile and now when you look back what’s more exciting was the fact you created the product that is valued by customers.

Pointing to the engineers turned entrepreneurs in the room, he said, “It’s the problem-solving skills they have learned at IIT and so many IITians take that risk.”

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