There are a number of enterprises that claim to offer a great firewall or endpoint security solution, but it has been very difficult for one company to successfully implement both elements. Untangle, a network software and appliance company, set out to change that when it acquired Total Defense in 2014.
“Our vision with the Total Defense acquisition, in a product sense, was to combine the two,” said Bob Walters, CEO of Untangle. “In the small business space, we think that’s a realistic thing to accomplish and sell because there’s not a lot of decision makers holding up a deal to buy both. There are definite technical advantages as well. Total Defense also had a nice set of financials and bulked up our company in that way.”
Walters told Richard Stiennon all about his company at the 2016 RSA Conference in San Francisco.
“We [employ] about 50 people,” said Walters. “We gained a bunch of those people through acquisition. We are now profitable and growing. We’re going to hold off on additional acquisitions in 2016 but hope to start that up again in 2017.”
What about those who may wish to acquire Untangle?
“It’s either a danger or a delight,” Walters explained. “It just depends on how the thing goes. Sure, companies like us that are at scale and profitable will always have people that are interested. We typically have two or three interested at any given time.”
Untangle has become a global brand, but Walters said that most of its customers are based in North America, particularly the United States.
“But the better way to describe our business is that it’s English speaking-based,” he said. “This has always been a curiosity for me because we’re localized in a dozen different places — most of those, by the way, were open source localizations. But we found the gravity centers to be English-speaking countries.”
Future Product Plans
Walters spoke fondly of the ARM architecture, which has “transformed the world” and is “central” to the Internet of Things, he said.
“ARM definitely gives us a Moore’s Law-like performance increase,” said Walters. “And to give you a real example of what the ARM architecture is doing for prices in Untangle’s land, about three years ago the cheapest Untangled box with software was about $1,000. We’re under half of that now based on [Intel’s] Atom. ARM is driving the Atom pricing. Within a very short time we’ll be in the $250 to $300 regime. We’re really excited about that.”