Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – August 19, 2013
CEOCFO: Mr. Downes, what attracted you to KEMP Technologies?
Mr. Downes: At the time, I was running my own company in continental Europe and I was looking for a career opportunity to move back to my native Ireland. I started looking for I.T sector opportunities there, and KEMP approached me at the time when they were looking to establish their Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters. I joined KEMP in 2010, and we established a EMEA presence, and it rapidly grew due to favorable market conditions for our solution. Ironically a couple years later, I ended up moving to the states further away from Ireland but the opportunity to work in the States for a US multinational company has been a long time personal goal.
CEOCFO: You have been the CEO since 2012. How has the company changed under your leadership?
Mr. Downes: I took over KEMP at a time when the founders had brought in some significant outside investment funding. For the first time since foundation the company brought in private equity investments and we essentially became a “born again” startup but with over a decade of history to fall back on. The VC’s and my core management team, which includes one of the co-founders jointly agreed an aggressive 5 year high growth plan which I’m proud to say we are tracking to very well. We had 35 employees when I took over and we now have 125, so there has been substantial growth and change over the last 18 months.
CEOCFO: Would you explain what you do at KEMP?
Mr. Downes: We develop server load balancing technology which is also called application delivery controllers. Essentially, what the product does is it helps customers to optimize their web applications, web servers, and any business application infrastructure that they might have such as ERP or CRM databases, e-mail applications such as: Microsoft Exchange, or communication servers such as Microsoft Lync. We provide health checking and redundancy options so business applications are always available should there be a server overload or hardware failure. That’s essentially what we do. This technology has been around a long time and there are a number of players in the space. It is a very interesting market at the moment because there are more and more applications, more data transfer, more server resources deployed. Everybody wants to build in high availability and redundancy to their infrastructure. We help to provide that at a cost-effective price and ease of use is key differentiator because the application administrator is not always an expert on load balancing. We have an exciting hybrid cloud solution about to be released.
CEOCFO: Do you provide hardware, software, or both?
Mr. Downes: First and foremost we are a software company. A lot of our products are delivered on hardware, but our IP is the software operating system. We lead the industry with our split of hardware to software only products and we anticipate most of our revenues will come from software only from 2015 and beyond.
CEOCFO: Is there a target customer or target industries for you?
Mr. Downes: We span many different industries and verticals. Our sweet spot is medium enterprise and the majority of our 2013 business is coming form that type of customer. Historically KEMP’s, was known as a small business provider. I believe we were the first people to bring out a product at the sub $2,000 dollar range. We still have a product at that price point but its only 14% of our product sales. We have a lot of state and local government and education customers which is a very active vertical market for us. We are winning a lot more US federal government business and have a dedicated team now working that sector. In general we continue to acquire more and more well-known customers and if they are not using us in their core datacenter that are deploying our solutions across their line of business using those budgets because of our affordability.