Why VMtech invested in a Sydney security startup

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This article appeared in the May 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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Why VMtech invested in a Sydney security startup
Len Findlay, VMtech

VMtech was founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneurs Len Findlay and Richard Clark when they decided to see what the Australian market had to offer after stints in the UK and Middle East. The company has now carved out a niche as one of the best of the new breed of system and cloud integrators in Australia.

VMtech earned the No. 16 spot in the 2015 CRN Fast50 for 87 percent growth in revenue to hit $20 million. The solutions provider also picked up the year’s CRN Editor’s Award along the way, but it’s a new startup that’s got the VMtech founders excited. 

While VMtech has been honing its skills in infrastructure and cloud services, it’s never too late to ensure that its security offering is up to scratch. Findlay and Clark have invested in Kasada, a Sydney-based security startup that’s developed an authentication platform and solution to prevent automated attacks.

“We’re just coming up with Kasada, which will be a big part of our security and identity play,” Findlay said. 

Kasada will continue operating as a separate business, but will be working very closely to complement VMtech’s cloud offering.

“We’ll be taking their technology to VMtech’s market when it makes sense for our business. VMtech taking it to market is safer while Kasada takes its time to mature. But we want to put a dent in the market and we’re ready to take risks.”

Kasada isn’t the only security investment VMtech has made. Last year it signed on disaster recovery vendor Zerto, helping the outfit grow its local sales by 300 percent in Australia in the past 12 months.

Findlay said one of the biggest factors in VMtech’s success last year was customers’ realisation of the “hybrid cloud message”.

“It’s quite nice for us that everyone can accept that there’s a blend of cloud that’s made up of public and private,” he said. “That message seems to have become standard.

“People started to realise what cloud is good for and what it’s not. It’s been around long enough that people can start diving in. We’re also seeing a lot more customers wanting private managed cloud with fixed costs that’s managed by a provider.”

Findlay said it was time to update the company’s strategy, even though the ship was sailing smoothly. 

“We’ve almost had the same strategy since we started because we were working with hyper-converged, public cloud, etc. There were so many things happening in that space, so we just stuck with it. Some of that technology has changed, though, such as ID-as-a-service.”

The other big factor was VMtech’s influx of new talent. The company hired 24 new people ilast year across sales, engineering and admin. VMtech also dipped its toes into the Victorian market, opening a 10-person office Melbourne.

“The team has been phenomenal, which has been our second key factor. Without a quality team, we couldn’t deliver on that strategy.”

“We’re just finding our way in the Melbourne market to see where we fit,” Findlay said. “We still have that startup mentality, so we’re happy just to be contracted.”  

FACT FILE

Head office Sydney

Top executives Len Findlay (CEO), Richard Clark (CTO)

Sectors Data centre services, infrastructure-as-a-service

2015 CRN Fast50 position No. 16

2015 revenue $20 million

2015 growth 87.03%

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