[Startup Bharat] This IIT Guwahati alumnus has built a secure email platform to protect user privacy

Sunit Kumar Nandi, Founder, Techno Digital Media, at all times discovered it difficult to get a secure and secure email software program supplier. The 26-year-old tech entrepreneur realised that emails weren’t securely saved, the phrases and circumstances usually acknowledged that conversations may very well be out there to third events, there have been spam issues, there was a drawback with email deliverability and restricted entry to options you possibly can use in your mailbox. 

So, the IIT Guwahati alumnus determined to repair the issue by himself. He established Letter in September 2020 in Guwahati, Assam, as a a part of Techno Digital Media, which was began in 2012. The startup is now constructing services that improve the privacy of the user. Its first product is a Mailcow-based email supplier. 

Hosted in France and utilizing relays in Switzerland and Iceland, Letter goals to create a secure email platform to protect user privacy. 

Founder of Letter, Sunit Kumar Nandi

How does the platform work?

Sunit says, “Our first flagship service is privacy-first email, which solves the issue of email communications being handled as an afterthought in a world the place email is the spine of every part.” 

“Most huge email suppliers usually mine email information of their prospects, whether or not they’re paying or not, and the much less widespread ones are poorly maintained to the purpose that email deliverability and spam is a main concern. Many suppliers don’t supply commonplace methods to entry mailboxes and drive you to use their very own apps. Some impose vendor lock-in, making it subsequent to unattainable to switch your information in case you need to transfer to a completely different supplier. Letter goals to remedy these points,” he provides.

Letter provides email internet hosting that’s encrypted per mailbox and per organisation, making it unattainable to mine conversations as an email companies operator. Letter adheres to all Internet and email requirements with the intention to entry your email, calendar, and contacts on any email consumer and gadget of your selection. 

It additionally provides the choice to import and export your email information, so that you’re actually in charge of your personal information. The platform additionally ensures state-of-the-art connection encryption help with TLS 1.3 and a minimal of 256-bit key power and use TLS (SSL) certificates European Certificate Authority positioned in Scandinavia (BuyPass). 

Startup Bharat - Letter

Not compromising on safety

“Apart from the mail encryption, the {hardware} nodes (servers) internet hosting email information are arrange with full-disk encryption, which supplies safety towards cyber and bodily assaults. Letter additionally contains precedence help for annual plan prospects, and we go to the extent of organising DNS data and optimising for email deliverability, which different email suppliers normally don’t supply, even on the upper finish plans,” says Sunit. 

He provides that common email internet hosting is scalable by design, however the way in which it’s applied in observe makes it laborious to scale, even for giant suppliers. Every supplier out there may be making an attempt to scale email, however in their very own proprietary and non-standard method. Letter is making an attempt to scale utilizing open-source software program and in a standards-compliant method, which is the way in which email is meant to be.

“Letter doesn’t compromise comfort over safety. It makes use of indexing that helps prospects to discover their emails by way of the search bar, which many privacy-oriented suppliers nonetheless fail to supply. Letter provides a further encryption layer over and above email encryption that not solely secures emails but additionally the infrastructure from cyberattacks,” says Sunit. 

Team and enterprise mannequin 

The core staff consists of Sunit, Manish Gehlot, and Mahbub Hasan. Manish is the safety and optimisation professional, and has spent a number of years of his profession within the Internet privacy companies business, with VPN operators like AzireVPN and PrivateVPN and privacy working system and software program maker e.basis. He is a former Free Software Foundation (FSF) member and continues to be an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) member. 

Mahbub takes care of Letter’s UI and UX design of software program and the web site, making accessibility and usefulness higher. Launched in November 2020, Letter at the moment is in its beta stage and has over 50 subscribers.  

The staff follows a B2B mannequin the place it expenses customers by the disk area and the variety of outgoing emails per day. The plans begin at Rs 1,320 per 12 months for 4GB storage and goes up to Rs 3,520 per 12 months for 50 GB storage. 

Anyone who requires extra storage and better sending limits can request a larger plan by contacting the help staff. The startup mentioned all plans embody precedence help and complimentary Bitwarden password supervisor other than the same old email options. One of the corporate’s distinguished consumer is Kaksha.ai (DigiPathshala Pvt Ltd), a startup from Gurugram. 

Sunit provides the staff is working with a internet revenue and is sustainable at current. He says they don’t want to burn money to acquire user traction.

“From a privacy-oriented enterprise standpoint, that is fascinating: you wouldn’t need to compromise on user privacy with profit-making because it goes towards the very purpose of the enterprise,” says Sunit. 

Letter owns or leases the bodily servers from information centres instantly and provides them to its custom-built non-public cloud, chopping out middlemen like resellers and public cloud suppliers, additional decreasing the fee. 

Competition and future 

“We are additionally ready to add, take away, and consolidate servers in accordance to the capability required on our non-public cloud and we are able to develop as sluggish or as quick as doable with no downtime. We have one of the best folks for the job on our staff and we work remotely. This cuts down on pointless bills like workplace area hire, commute time, and gasoline expense. Also, having the precise folks on the job ensures excessive productiveness and the work will get performed sooner,” says Sunit. 

Letter at the moment competes instantly with Switzerland-based ProtonMail, which was based by CERN scientists. ProtonMail’s infrastructure resides in Europe’s most secure information centre, beneath 1,000 metres of stable rock.

However, ProtonMail expenses per mailbox, whereas Letter expenses for disk area and the variety of outgoing emails. Sunit says ProtonMail has no full-text search out there for emails. However, Letter permits full-text search of emails even when encryption is enforced. 

Speaking of their future plans, Sunit says, “Our purpose is to change into a huge participant amongst privacy email and enterprise email internet hosting suppliers and to be the perfect within the service that we provide. From there onwards, I plan to spin off Letter into a separate enterprise entity to develop extra services that improve privacy of individuals within the digital realm.” 

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