Great Bay Software is a quiet story of Minnesota migration from the east coast.
In 2013, GrowthFire acquired the company and put Tim Butler in charge, planting a flag here in Minnesota. Fast forward to February when Silicon Valley vet Jim Scullion became the CEO. Naturally, we reached out to learn more about this development and what’s in store for this transplant IoT/endpoint security firm.
What is the background of the company?
Steve Pettit & Jason Damron started the company in New Hampshire circa 2004. Eventually they repositioned and changed the name to Great Bay Software as they saw the future opportunities around endpoint security.
In June 2013, a group of investors, led by Growthfire and including Alpine, purchased the company from the original founders. Until now, Tim Butler was running the company.
I’ve come into this company quite quickly as I’m known to Alpine Investors; they are a major investor in Great Bay and they thought that I would be the perfect fit to take this company forward. I would agree.
What does endpoint security mean to you?
It has various definitions in the marketplace, but basically what you’re trying to do is to protect any and all endpoint devices communicating with a network within the enterprise. Understanding and profiling the attributes of this endpoint universe — printers, mobile, hardware — so that IT can determine if they have any vulnerabilities.
IoT is a very large and addressable market, emerging as a big need or opportunity for what we do. That could be connected medical devices or mobile POS hardware, for example. What we’re not talking about is consumer products like a smart toaster, Great Bay Software is all about the enterprise.
What industries are you targeting?
We can’t be everything to everyone. The Great Bay Software of today is focused in the areas of financial services, healthcare and retail. Some of our key customers locally include Target and Unitedhealth Group. We’re going to hit other verticals as we grow.
What appealed to you about the opportunity to become the CEO?
I’ve been in the security industry for over 20 years, during which I’ve run three public companies and two private — some upwards of $75m-$100m in revenues. With that perspective, I believe that Great Bay has best of breed technology in terms of endpoint security and profiling. I also see the ability to expand outside of that, although I won’t go into that strategy now.
How many employees does the company currently have and where are they based?
Just under 30; we have two offices, one in Minneapolis and one in Portsmouth, NH, where the company began. We’re about 2/3 here in Minnesota and 1/3 there. I’m a Silicon Valley guy andso is our VP of marketing sp we’re going to commute.
Do you foresee growing the company by headcount this year?
Yes, I’m all about growth and why I came to this company. That includes the top line revenue and the employee base.
Where is the company at in terms of revenue today?
Last year we were just under $10m.
What is your first order of business in the near term?
To set the strategic direction for the company.
How much of a stake did Growthfire purchase?
I don’t know…all I can say is that Alpine has a majority of that stake.
What is the special sauce?
We’re an agent-less platform which means that nothing actually goes on with the device that we’re detecting. Our profiling is very robust. We have a lot of data that we mine and profile, which is just that much more accurate.
What companies have you been involved with before?
My most recent company, Bunchball, was a call center software platform that integrated into Salesforce, Jive, SAP, IBM. What was unique about it is that we gamified the process. Sold that in November 2014…the company was less than $1m when I came in and it was approximately $10m when sold. I was there for three years.
I’ve had five successful exits as CEO; that’s not why I’m here but if I can make this company be great then it will attract interest.
What is an ideal customer for Great Bay Software?
I’d consider us to be in a a mid-tier market where our competencies and competitiveness lie. I’d love to capture some fortune 2,000 companies
Is there anything that I didn’t ask or that you’d like to add?
It’s exciting time…I’ve been offered number of opportunities prior to this one and I like this one. There is much more potential here than has been executed on. We’re an agent-less platform which means that nothing goes on with the device that we’re detecting, so there doesn’t need to be an agent on the hardware to detect. Our profiling is very robust. We have a lot of data that we mine and that we profile, just that much more accurate.
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