Chuck has bootstrapped a security company using services all the way up to $16 million in revenue and has recently raised private equity capital to develop a platform product.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your story. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? What kind of background leads up to this story?
Chuck Bloomquist: I was born in El Paso, Texas. I spent most of my youth living in the Pacific Basin. After we moved out of Texas, we moved to Wake Island. Then, we went to Hawaii and lived there for a year or so. Then, we moved up to Alaska and the UK. I came back to Texas for college. I then migrated to Colorado.
Sramana Mitra: After college, you graduated to Colorado?
Chuck Bloomquist: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: What time frame are we talking when you were coming out of college?
Chuck Bloomquist: It was the mid ’80s when I got out of college.
Sramana Mitra: What took you to Colorado?
Chuck Bloomquist: It was too hot in Texas, and I was tired of the heat. I decided to move out. I drove up to Colorado and I’ve pretty much lived in that state ever since.
Sramana Mitra: What work did you find in Colorado?
Chuck Bloomquist: It has always been centered on networking in one form or another. I’ve always been involved with networks. Once I got established in Colorado, I started working for a variety of networking sites, which eventually led to the development of several ISPs. I cut my teeth in the entrepreneurial space by working for small startup ISPs.
Sramana Mitra: In terms of time frame, where does this bring us up to?
Chuck Bloomquist: I started in ISPs in the early ’90s. That took me up until the mid ’90s when I transitioned into software development and then into the telco industry. That really is where I got my foundation and initiation into the security space. I was routinely getting questions from my customers about how to secure their environment. Back then, external threat was the major issue. How do I keep the bad guys from getting access to my network?
Sramana Mitra: You were working for another company when you got your exposure to security though, right?
Chuck Bloomquist: That’s correct. I was working in a different industry.
Sramana Mitra: What happens after that?
Chuck Bloomquist: It was really the questions that my customers had around security and network protection that drove me and my business partner into asking the question, “What are we really trying to protect?” We came across an epiphany where we were focused heavily on hardware as our solution for the security issue. What we were trying to protect was not existing at the perimeter.
How can we really define what it is we’re trying to protect? You can’t protect anything if you don’t know what it is. What form does it exist in? Where does it reside? Who has access to it? Those types of questions are what drove us to start the business that became BEW Global and now, InteliSecure.