As Websense Leaves Town, Iboss Network Security Takes Center Stage

When fraternal twins Paul and Peter Martini founded a startup now known as iboss Network Security in San Diego in 2003, another local company was already becoming one of the dominant providers of Web gateway security technology.

For the next decade or so, iboss operated in the background while San Diego’s Websense rose into the middle of Gartner’s “magic quadrant” of industry leaders in specialized cybersecurity, showing both “the ability to execute” and “the completeness of vision.” Today Websense still provides security technology that protects computer networks from cyber attacks and data theft.

At the end of February, though, Websense confirmed that it would move its headquarters to Austin, TX. The decision was made by Vista Equity Partners, the private equity firm that acquired Websense for nearly $1 billion last June. Vista was lured in part by $4.5 million from the state-operated Texas Enterprise Fund and $438,000 in performance-based incentives from the city of Austin.

Now iboss Network Security is emerging as a fast-growing successor with a new generation of Web security technology.

Paul Martini

Paul Martini

After recording about $20 million in annual revenue in 2013, iboss sales are now running at a rate of about $20 million a quarter—and accelerating, CEO Paul Martini said by phone yesterday.

As a privately held company, iboss is not obligated to disclose its sales. In the first quarter that ended March 31, iboss says its sales grew by 400 percent over the same period last year. “We’re blasting right through,” Martini said. “In the first quarter [of 2014], we made more than in the first half of last year.”

By coincidence, the Martini brothers were in the process of moving their company to Austin, TX, last year when they concluded that it just wouldn’t be worth the disruption to their business. While there is no state income tax in Texas, Martini said they found that labor costs were higher in Austin than in San Diego, and commercial office space was significantly more expensive. “Overall, you’re really not saving as much as you might think,” he said.

The decision to stay in San Diego was sealed, he added, after they learned that cross-town rival Websense was laying the groundwork to move its headquarters to Austin. “Websense was the icing on the cake for us,” Martini said.

Since then, iboss has made dozens of new hires, including many Websense employees in San Diego who were unwilling to … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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