Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My New (ad)ventures

There was a lot of speculation last month about my departure from McAfee (now INTC), as reported by Jim Finkle at Reuters.   Well, I can finally confirm that I have left McAfee as part of a multi-month planned transition.   As many of you know, I spent the last seven years in various roles including GM of the Risk and Compliance Business Unit and most recently as McAfee’s Worldwide CTO.  After the acquisition of Foundstone by McAfee in 2004, I candidly didn’t think I would have stayed for as long as I had, but I am proud to be part of the executive team that put McAfee back on track and ultimately sold it to Intel in February 2011 for almost $8 billion.  I have been involved in acquiring many companies over the last decade, and I have been fortunate enough to be acquired twice in my career.   While most acquisitions are exciting, I believe it is always a good time to take stock in what a person wants to be doing long term.  To quote Steve Jobs:
 “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

You have to have the courage to follow your heart and be passionate about what you are doing, and for me passion is everything.   I am most passionate about being an entrepreneur and building companies, which is ultimately why I decided to leave McAfee.

So What’s Next?

I am delighted to announce that I have joined Warburg Pincus as an Executive in Residence.  Warburg Pincus is a leading private equity investment firm with over $30 billion in assets under management.  I have known several of the principals of the firm for almost a decade and we always talked about doing the next big thing together.  I believe the time is right and that Warburg Pincus’ growth-oriented investment style is ideally suited for this space.  Given the highly fragmented security sector, where large players claim less than a 10% market share, there are unique opportunities to solve problems which are not being addressed with existing legacy technologies.  Blacklisting is a good example of a technology long past its prime.  However, most large companies’ main defenses center around technology that was invented during the VHS era.   How many people are still using VHS at home? Exactly.  So why do we cling to the old models of yesteryear to protect our most sensitive intellectual property?  

That is a question I have asked myself for some time now and why I am excited to partner with Warburg Pincus.  We are working to assemble a world-class team and looking to acquire technologies that will allow us to build a company focused on solving the most demanding security problems of today – not 20 years ago.  Will it be hard?  Of course.  Will it be fun?  You bet! My mission will be to build an enduring company where people are motivated to solve really hard security problems.

If you think you have an interesting security idea or technology, I would love to hear about it.   If you are a university with technology that you would like to commercialize, I would love to hear about it.  Finally, if you are dying to be on a killer team looking to change security, I want to hear from you.   I can be reached at george.kurtz at warburgpincus.com.

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