Mimecast Expands in Boston Area, Taps E-mail Pioneer in Michigan to Drive Growth

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be doing it—e-mail has been and will continue to be a key infrastructure for a number of applications and processes.”

Given his historical perspective on e-mail, I asked Borenstein where the industry is really headed—widespread e-mail bankruptcy comes to mind—and what role Mimecast will play in sorting things out. “E-mails used to be a very simple thing,” he says. “The habit that business has gotten into is maintaining complicated servers…In the last 10 years, the trend in the consumer space is away from that model and towards Web mail…and complete freedom from administrative burdens. That’s not an option for business. There are way too many privacy and security problems. So [companies are] stuck doing more and more to support e-mail systems.”

That’s where Mimecast fits in. “At some point there’s a transition,” he says, where an outside agency will handle all of a company’s e-mail needs. “It’s remarkable that e-mail hasn’t made that transition sooner. What we’re doing is allowing companies to focus on their business more… and freeing up mindshare of the senior people.”

(Incidentally, Borenstein uses Apple’s mail program for his own e-mails. Why? It’s an intriguing story that involves Steve Jobs trying to hire his team out of Carnegie Mellon. The upshot is that Apple’s program works a lot like what Borenstein’s team built back in the ’80s.)

I asked what Mimecast’s biggest business and technical challenges are. Roberto cited efficiency in customer outreach and service. Borenstein said, “Most people would say it’s coping with growth. For me, it’s creating more growth. To my mind, the biggest challenge is making sure we have a platform that can grow and add more services.”

Lastly, I wondered why Borenstein would join an up-and-coming (neither new nor firmly established) company like Mimecast at this point in his career. I got the sense that part of it might be the desire to tame the beast he helped create.

“This is a major evolution in the history of e-mail,” Borenstein says. “I wanted to join a company at a certain stage that is poised for rapid growth. I wanted a company where my own history and expertise would be useful. That narrows it down pretty fast.”

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Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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