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New Pwnie Express CEO Cites Channel As Key To Growth In IoT Security Market

"We clearly value what can be done in the channel and that will continue to be a focus for us," said Pwnie Express CEO Todd DeSisto.

The new CEO of IoT security company Pwnie Express is stirring up a "Stampede."

"We're going to build our partner program and continue investment in the Stampede program," said Todd DeSisto, the Pwnie Express chief executive. He said he hopes to "build on the successes of 2017" by continuing the rollout of the startup's Stampede channel program.

DeSisto is taking over for former CEO Paul Paget, the company announced at the beginning of December. Paget will remain at Pwnie Express as the executive vice president focused on strategy, according to the company.

"We clearly value what can be done in the channel and that will continue to be a focus for us," said DeSisto.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Fortinet Tightens IoT Security Focus With New OT Security Solution For Partners]

Pwnie Express, founded in 2009, touts its Pulse IoT security platform, which continually identifies and assesses all devices and IoT systems, helping customers by providing tools to respond to threats that put systems at risk.

The platform discovers all devices and establishes device identities, and then enables customers to respond to any threats directly from Pulse.

In September, Pwnie announced the launch of the new Stampede partner program, its first partner program to help facilitate sales through targeted regional reseller partners and MSSPs. The start of the partner program is a departure for Pwnie, which has previously sold directly to customers, and DeSisto, for his part, wants to continue that channel push.

The executive was formerly the CEO of Axeda Corporation, an IoT company that was focused on securely connecting machines and sensors to the cloud.

Axeda, which was acquired by PTC in 2014, also had a broad partner ecosystem made up of mobile network operators and systems integrators – and DeSisto hopes to bring his skills from working with the channel at the IoT company to Pwnie Express.

"Some of these IoT security problems are pretty big and broad … it is natural to address the solution through a channel, and we want to leverage our partners' reach and base," he said.

Another goal for Pwnie Express in the coming year revolves around leveraging its channel to secure operational technology in the industrial market.


DeSisto said "the time is coming for Industrie 4.0" – the trend of more manufacturing technologies becoming data-driven and automated: "We see that pickup … security is a common need in these operational technology environments," he said. "Many times, manufacturers can't even see where their devices will be compromised, and these are environments where the stakes are high."

The company in November announced $8 million in funding, led by existing investors .406 Ventures, Ascent Venture Partners and Fairhaven Capital with participation from the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET). That funding, which brings the total invested in the company to date to $28 million, will be used in part for continued customer growth.

’We’ll head into 2018 with great products and additional resources. We’re in a great position to continue to grow by providing new and existing customers with the best IoT security product in the marketplace," DeSisto said.

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