It takes a deep ingenuity, sharpness and courage to build several start-ups and lead them towards the highest peak. A shrewd entrepreneur exemplifying business acumen along with technical vision, Philippe Courtot has repeatedly incepted and led multiple small innovative start-ups and turned them into industry-leading companies. Presently, he is serving as Chairman and CEO at Qualys, a leading provider of cloud-based information security and compliance solutions. He has earned a master’s degree in physics from the University of Paris.
Anonymous by Choice
The ultimate goal of every businessman is making billions of dollars and staying in the limelight. But Philippe has a different opinion on this. Like other businessmen, his goal is also to make money, but he both wanted to spread the wealth across the teams and didn’t want the burden of making too much money.
Currently, Philippe is a multimillionaire after selling three of his successful companies. Before joining Qualys, Philippe was the Chairman and CEO of Signio, an electronic payment start-up that he repositioned to become a significant e-commerce player. In February 2000, VeriSign acquired Signio for more than a billion dollars. Today, VeriSign’s payment division, based on the Signio technology, handles 30% of electronic transaction in the U.S., processing $100-million in daily sales.
Prior to Signio, Philippe was President and CEO of Verity, where he re-engineered the company to become a prominent player in enterprise knowledge retrieval solutions. Under Philippe’s direction, the company completed its initial public offering in November 1995.
Philippe also turned an unknown company of 12 people, cc:Mail, into the dominant e-mail platform provider, achieving a 40 percent market share while competing directly against IBM and Microsoft. Acknowledging the market leading position of cc:Mail and the significance of e-mail in corporate environments, Lotus acquired the company in 1991.
In the opinion of Philippe, the progress of making the internet safe and trustworthy is stuck due to ever-increasing data breaches. Cyber criminals operate with total impunity on the internet. To cope with this scenario, he launched the Trustworthy Internet Movement in the year 2012, to integrate security measures into the product-making process. He always strives to come up with ways to bake protection into public as well as private clouds. Philippe has also served on the Board of Trustees for The Internet Society, an international non-profit organization that fosters global cooperation and coordination on the development of the internet.
Apart from setting milestones with these companies, during his three decades in Silicon Valley Philippe has also helped in the formation of 10 startups by providing both his deep industry insights and angel investments. He could have become a billionaire, but he didn’t want to become too visible and lose his life. Thus, rather than becoming a billionaire, Philippe chose to stay anonymous.
Qualys: A Novel Approach towards Securing IT Infrastructure
Founded in 1999, Qualys helps businesses simplify security operations and lower the cost of compliance by delivering critical security intelligence on demand and automating the full spectrum of auditing, compliance and protection for IT systems and web applications. With its Cloud Platform and integrated Cloud Apps, Qualys currently serves more than 10,300 enterprise and mid-market customers in over 130 countries, including 74 percent of Fortune 50 companies, 46 percent of the Global 500 and 25 percent of the Global 2000. The company has established strategic partnerships with leading managed service providers and consulting organizations including Accenture, BT, Cognizant Technology Solutions, DXC Technology, Deutsche Telekom, Fujitsu, HCL, IBM, Infosys, NTT, Optiv, SecureWorks, Tata Communications, Verizon and Wipro. The company is also a founding member of the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA).
However, Qualys does not focus on the diversity of its tech solutions. To the contrary, it looks for synergies between them, as it provides value to its customers. It is moving towards its goal of helping build security into the fabric of the cloud, so security can become both stronger and more transparent.
Enriching Experiences and Exceeding Lessons
Philippe believes that competing head to head with Microsoft and finding the way to defeat it through cc:Mail was an enriching accomplishment. However, he mentions thats selling cc:Mail to Lotus was a big mistake. Both consequent successes and failures have shaped Philippe’s journey of reaching the heights. He learned that acquiring and selling companies is a challenging task. Now he always takes various factors into consideration, while acquiring or selling companies. First it is all about the quality of the team, second about how well they can integrate and third about a fair valuation.
In 1986, as CEO of Thomson CGR Medical, a medical imaging company, Philippe received the Benjamin Franklin award for his role in the creation of a nationwide advertising campaign promoting the life-saving benefits of mammography. Philippe has also received the SC Magazine Editor’s Award in 2004 for bringing on-demand technology to the network security industry, and for co-founding the CSO Interchange to provide a forum for sharing information in the security industry. He was also named the 2011 CEO of the Year by SC Magazine Awards Europe.
Be Ready to Change
According to Philippe, curiosity, modesty, high technical integrity and an outcome driven approach are the vital attributes every tech entrepreneur should strive to possess. He asserts, “while continuing to gain more depth in your area of expertise, keep your eyes and mind open for new emerging technologies around you and be ready to change.”