Ottawa's CloudLink purchased by U.S.-based EMC

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David Sali
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Local cybersecurity firm CloudLink has been acquired by international data storage giant EMC Corporation, the companies announced on Thursday.

From left, CloudLink CFO Craig Bowditch, founder and CEO Alex Berlin and CTO Misha Nossik.

Under the deal, which closed late Wednesday night, CloudLink’s team of about 20 employees will lead EMC’s cloud security research and development efforts. Terms of the agreement were not released.

“It’s great news for Ottawa,” CloudLink president and CEO Alex Berlin said in an interview with OBJ. “We’re excited.”

EMC has been distributing CloudLink’s signature product, SecureVM, for the past two years. The Massachusetts-based firm, which has annual revenues of more than $23 billion, first came to CloudLink with its acquisition proposal about two months ago, Mr. Berlin said.

“EMC is one of the most visionary IT players in the industry,” he said. “They share the same vision we do. When they approached us, we felt it was a compelling opportunity for us to scale our business up dramatically.”

Mr. Berlin likens his company’s technology to a “virtual safety deposit box” for sensitive cloud data, allowing customers to securely store and transfer information between different platforms such as Microsoft Azure and VMware.

CloudLink has more than 50 customers, including governments, “very large” banks and health care providers in the United States, he said. The company’s quarterly revenues have more than tripled in the past year, he added, and its annual revenues now surpass $1 million.

Earlier this year, California-based market research firm Cybersecurity Ventures named CloudLink to its Cybersecurity 500 list of companies to watch.

“It’s a huge transformation that is happening as we speak,” Mr. Berlin said. “The market is growing super fast.”

Much of CloudLink’s growth was fuelled by a $6-million funding round two years ago led by the BDC Venture Capital IT Fund. Mr. Berlin said the company thought about seeking another round of financing, but noted it faced stiff competition from firms in Silicon Valley and decided EMC’s offer was too good to pass up.

“We sat down and talked … and we felt that this is a great opportunity to fulfil our dreams of building something big,” he said.

Originally founded as AFORE Solutions in the early 2000s, CloudLink shifted its focus from networking services to cloud security about five years ago after seeing the huge potential in the burgeoning IT-as-a-service sector, Mr. Berlin said.

About 18 months ago, the board sold the non-cloud side of the business to a group led by original co-founder Paul Kite. That firm is now known as Kuatro Technologies, while AFORE rebranded itself early last summer to reflect its new focus.

Mr. Berlin, who will head EMC’s cloud security solutions development team in Ottawa, said CloudLink’s new owners have no plans to move the operations out of town.

“We managed with $6 million to build something pretty amazing and highly competitive,” he said. “There’s a lot of good talent in Ottawa, and I’m fortunate to have a great team of people.”

Organizations: EMC, Microsoft Azure, Cybersecurity Ventures BDC Venture Capital IT Fund AFORE Solutions Kuatro Technologies

Geographic location: Ottawa, United States, Silicon Valley

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