OBJ is taking a closer look at several tech firms that have what it takes to scale up to a new level in 2021 as the economy continues to grapple with the coronavirus and begins to take tentative steps toward the post-pandemic reality.
Cybersecurity firm Field Effect officially launched four years ago, but as founder and CEO Matt Holland explains, the company’s roots stretch much deeper.
“Even though there’s this perception that we’re this new company, we’ve actually been hard at it for a long time,” he says.
The foundation of Field Effect’s technology was actually laid back in 2009, when engineers at Holland’s previous tech enterprise, Linchpin Labs, started developing a cybersecurity platform. After Holland sold Linchpin to U.S.-based tech giant L3Harris Technologies in 2018, he poured his money and efforts into creating a full-scale solution aimed at protecting small and medium-sized businesses from the escalating barrage of cyberthreats perpetrated by bad actors all over the planet.
“A lot of people are starting to call us the Shopify of cybersecurity because we build something that works really well for small and medium businesses as opposed to just large enterprises, which is largely where the rest of the industry is kind of focused,” he explains.
As internet traffic has accelerated during the pandemic, so has the public’s awareness of the potential repercussions of online attacks, Holland adds.
“I think it’s starting to change how people look at this problem generally. The threat of cybersecurity breaches and the negative outcomes are just becoming more apparent.”
But trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys is no easy task. In fact, Holland himself says he barely had time to catch his breath over Christmas and Boxing Day before getting right back at it.
“Nobody ever stands still. We need to continuously be creative, so that is just who we are,” he says, noting Field Effect reinvests about half its annual revenues into R&D in its ongoing effort to thwart cyberhackers’ best efforts. “If we can’t stay ahead (of security threats), then we’re failing as a company.”
After opening an office in London last February, Field Effect is wasting no time expanding its international footprint in 2021.
The company recently hired five employees in Sydney and Melbourne and expects to set up shop south of the border with outposts in New York and San Francisco later this year. The firm is also looking to gain a foothold in continental Europe with an office in Germany.
Coming off a year in which it doubled its revenues and grew its headcount from 38 to 125, Holland says Field Effect is poised to truly come into its own in 2021. He’s forecasting the firm’s revenues will triple over the next 12 months and predicts Field Effect’s payroll will hit 200 before the year is out.
“Right now, we’re still that plucky upstart with a chip on our shoulder wanting to make positive change,” he says. “I think 2021 will be the year that the world finds out that we exist and that we’re special.”