Role and company:
CEO of Malwarebytes
Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):
In terms of revenue our business grew 35 per cent from 2011 to 2012.
We’re a team of about 70. This includes researchers, sales people and technical support.
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:
The Malwarebytes Anti-Malware products don’t work like traditional anti-virus software. We developed a unique algorithm that protects people against the latest types of malware that anti-virus scanners are too slow to detect. We also encourage a layered approach to protection, with our flagship product working alongside anti-virus programmes.
What’s the big vision for your business?
Ideally, we want Malwarebytes to be the go-to anti-malware utility. We specifically provide malware solutions and not anti-virus, so we’re not directly competing with blue-chip companies like McAfee or Symantec. However, it would be nice to be positioned in a similar way in the minds of consumers.
When the business started in 2008, the big vision was helping people to be malware-free. The company’s five year anniversary was in mid-January, and maintaining that principle has helped us achieve over 200 million users globally. We have removed approximately five billion malware threats and established an expanding workforce of experts, all whilst being self-funded. As long as we remain true to our original values then the big vision for Malwarebytes is unlimited.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:
Malwarebytes is a global service that can be downloaded by consumers anywhere in the world. We are available in 36 languages and will continue to add more translations so as to compel more people.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:
We charge our consumer clients for a lifetime license of our software as opposed to an annual subscription. We couple this with subscription billing for our corporate clients in order to create a sustainable business model. However, this framework can sometimes be difficult for the company to support.
What makes you mad in business today?
I find it frustrating when smaller and less well-known companies making brilliant and innovative products are overlooked. Especially when in favour of larger businesses that command huge marketing budgets but produce sub-parproducts.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?
With smartphones and mobile devices playing a bigger role in everyday life, this presents more opportunities for malware to deploy infections. Cyber-criminals have always refined their operations and I expect them to continue along this trajectory by developing mobile malware designed to steal passwords and private information.
Targeting mobile devices will affect enterprises too; the prominence of smartphones in business and the emergence of the “Bring your own device” trend put companies at risk by potentially exposing confidential intellectual property to thieves. Mobile protection software is already appearing on the scene, and I expect this will account for an increasing amount of the IT security market in the coming years.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?
Malwarebytes has achieved its growth without ever taking funding. Nonetheless, I understand this is not possible for every business.
Avast received $100m in funding two years ago from the private equity company Summit Partners – the investment community sees the IT security sector as a valuable growth market. IT security companies using the right business model should be able to source the right financing in order to grow.
How would others describe your leadership style?
Collaborative. From day one the business has been about collaboration; whether it was developing Malwarebytes Anti-Malware with my VP of Research, Bruce Harrison, or receiving community feedback from our forum users regarding issues with the software. As a leader, being open to teamwork and partnership has made all the difference.
Your biggest personal extravagance?
Flying lessons, even though they do not help my career at all. I have a huge passion for flying, but lessons aren’t cheap.
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:
Naturally, funding is crucial for a new business to flourish, so I would encourage further thought about innovative means of providing funding for SMEs. I think tax breaks for small companies are important too, specifically for freeing up resources that will take a business to the next level. For independent businesses to truly prosper, funding and tax breaks alone are not sufficient. It is vital that new entrepreneurs have access to mentors who can advise them through critical stages of their business, such as rapid growth and business development. I would recommend that the prime minister make experienced and knowledgeable business professionals increasingly available to start-up firms in order to set them on the right path faster.By Shané Schutte
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