Reading a techno-thriller novel that explores the theme of government surveillance of electronically stored information on the private lives of citizens and the ethical implications of using such technology "really intrigued" Mr Inian Parameshwaran, who was then 11.
He finished Dan Brown's Digital Fortress in a few sittings and was so fascinated that he decided that he wanted to learn more about computer security when he grew older.
He specialised in just that when he came to Singapore in 2010 to do his degree in computer science at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
After graduation in 2014, Mr Inian worked as a research assistant in the systems security lab at NUS.
He was then working on a project to analyse security problems on websites and fix them.
But after speaking to almost 100 companies in Singapore to find out if a business in it was viable, he realised there was a more pressing problem - the performance of their websites.
The companies he spoke to gave him feedback that its customers weren't signing up with them and were going to other websites as they were losing patience over their slow websites.
Apart from that, he also found it hard to penetrate the computer security market "because most of the industry runs on trust".
Said the 24-year-old: "If you're a big company, they will trust you with their security issues but if you're just starting out, it's hard to reach out and win them over. Also, security is more of a reactive approach - companies will only solve security issues if they find a bug or virus. They don't need someone to actively write security codes."
He then pivoted the product to something which can analyse a website and make it speed up automatically.
"We pitched it to many companies and they could see the impact of it, it was more tangible," he said, adding that it inspired him to start a company of his own to tackle the problem of slow websites.
He roped in Mr Murali Srirangam Ramanujam, 25, whom he met at the NUS computer science course, to be the company's co-founder and chief technology officer.
Mr Murali left his job as a research assistant at A*STAR to devote time to building the start-up.
In June last year, the duo, who are from Chennai, went to Silicon Valley in the US for two months under a fellowship programme by Y Combinator, a business incubator there.
They were awarded a grant of US$20,000 (S$28,000), which enabled them to start Dexecure.
The start-up analyses websites and is automatically able to re-write codes to make websites load faster, even on mobile devices and slow network conditions.
It also generates multiple versions of a company's website specifically optimised for each browser.
Said Mr Inian: "As a user, many people say 'the website is not loading' or 'the website is loading very slowly', hardly bothering if the Internet connection is slow.
"Also, a lot of companies we are working with are focusing on developing markets like India, Africa and Brazil. If you want to penetrate into such markets, you must make sure your website loads fast in those markets, even though the connection speed might not be as fast as Singapore's."
According to him, Amazon found out that they were able to increase their revenue by 1 per cent by speeding up their website by just 100 milliseconds.
All it takes is to add a particular code to the website and "it magically becomes faster," Mr Inian said.
Companies can get a free two-week trial to "see the impact of Dexecure before they turn to paying customers".
Mr Inian explained that after a pitch, he and his co-founder show them a demo of their website - the original load time vs the optimised load time with Dexecure.
"For example, after Dexecure is installed, it will load 40 per cent faster and you will get a higher percentage of page views because it's more seamless for users," he claimed
Companies might be tracking their page load time, conversion rate, bounce rate, but they can see that only if they are given a certain amount of time, hence the two-week trial, explained Mr Inian.
It offers a monthly or annual subscription model ranging from $9 to $3,000 per month depending on the traffic that they get to their website.
Dexecure works with companies in Singapore, US, India and other countries.
They include CodeCombat - an educational gaming company in San Francisco and Teamie - a cloud-based collaborative learning platform in Singapore.
The duo, who work out of an office space in Ayer Rajah's start-up hub, are looking to raise half a million dollars from angel investors this year to scale their business.
While Mr Inian describes his journey in the start-up as "a rollercoaster ride", he also said "the best part that motivates us" is to see the product making a difference.
"We have saved 1,800 hours of waiting time for our customer's users because their site loaded faster," he claimed.
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