A Cutting-Edge Cybersecurity Software Company is Starting Up in Coral Gables, to be Led by a Pro From Google – with Oversight from Chairman and Gables Master Entrepreneur Manny Medina
By Doreen Hemlock
When Manny Medina launched Cyxtera Technologies in 2017, the idea was to create a global network of secure data centers. Today, Cyxtera owns some 60 sprawling data hubs that house computer systems and provide varied services, including cybersecurity. It has revenues topping $800 million per year and some 1,300 employees worldwide, including more than 200 in Coral Gables.
Now, Medina is splitting off the booming software side in a venture to be called AppGate, Inc., partly to appeal to investors on Wall Street.
AppGate will focus on cybersecurity software and services. Through Cyxtera, its offerings already are used by more than 1,000 organizations in some 40 countries, mainly government agencies and large corporations. Clients include the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and international banks. Plans call for the spinoff by April, with AppGate employing an initial 525 people worldwide.
Medina says he and his partners hope to sell stock in Cyxtera’s data-center segment in the next year or so. They figure data centers will appeal more to investors interested in infrastructure and the longer-term play. AppGate instead could draw investors keen on tech and the shorter-term side of a potential sale.
“Our cyber business is growing really, really fast, and now, it can stand on its own,” says Medina. He estimates AppGate’s revenue growth at 35-40 percent per year, with its clientele now extending far beyond Cyxtera’s own data centers. “That’s very rewarding for us.”
Moving from New York to become AppGate’s chief executive is cyber pro Mike Aiello, who directed product management for Google Cloud Platform Security, and before that, led information security for Goldman Sachs’ consumer and commercial bank. He’s also founded tech companies and authored patents related to cybersecurity and privacy.
Aiello says he’s delighted to join AppGate’s team “to help enterprises and government agencies defend themselves in the world’s most hostile environments.” The team is known for its flexible software that secures the edge of computer networks as users enter and leave, rather than keeping a static fence around the whole network. Its AppGate Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) solution is “one of the most highly commended tools on the market,” says trade publication Data Center Knowledge.
After the split, Medina will serve both Cyxtera and AppGate as executive chairman, while Cyxtera’s current president, Nelson Fonseca, will become its CEO. Fonseca had also worked at Medina’s data center venture Terremark, which was sold to Verizon in 2011 in a $2 billion deal.
Medina says he’s excited about AppGate because the need for cybersecurity is surging. One indicator: “an epidemic of ransomware,” which can encrypt user information and then ask users to pay to get their data back. The malware has cost cities, hospitals and others millions of dollars in ransom, says Medina, who recently spoke on the issue in Tallahassee following attacks on several Florida cities. “This epidemic really hits home,” says Medina, “and we offer defenses to prevent it.”