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Updated: June 19, 2019

Portland cybersecurity startup on hiring spree gets $1.6M capital boost

Defendify co-founders Courtesy / Defendify Portland-based startup Defendify, co-founded by Andrew Rinaldi, left, and Rob Simopoulos, will get $1.6 million in funding from the Maine Technology Institute and unnamed private investors, the company announced Wednesday.

Defendify, a Portland-based provider of cybersecurity solutions to small businesses that's in the middle of a hiring spree, unveiled a $1.6 million capital boost on Wednesday to continue its growth path.

The company, featured in Mainebiz's list of 10 Maine startups to keep an eye on, was founded in 2017 by Rob Simopoulos and Andrew Rinaldi.

Simopoulos worked for more than 20 years in the security industry, while Rinaldi's background is in digital marketing.

Currently located above the Enterprise Rent-A-Car office at 1 Marginal Way, Defendify expects to quickly outgrow the space as it seeks to fill several open positions for web application developers as well as in sales and business development, as advertised on its website.

"We're at 11 employees right now and expect to double that or more by the end of the year," Simopoulos told Mainebiz. "I don't think we'll be here [in the current space] much longer."

Its hiring plans come amid a 14% month-on-month jump in revenues since the company was launched, he said. The company does not disclose financials.

On Wednesday, Defendify announced it has raised $1.6 million in early-stage capital funding led by unnamed private investors, with participation from the Maine Technology Institute and 3dot6 Ventures, identified as an early-stage cybersecurity industry investor.

MTI President Brian Whitney commended the company's founders on the successful capital raising, and noted that MTI's formative investments helped Defendify build its team and refine its product over the past 18 months.

"We proudly commend them as they grow into one of Maine's most exciting new companies," he added.

Simopoulos said the private investors are mainly in the New England region, including several in Maine.

An unspecified portion of the $1.6 million is venture-capital funding.

Beefing up the platform, adding partners

Simopoulos said Defendify plans to use the proceeds to make core cybersecurity platform "better and better," and to add so-called channel partners who offer the Defendify platform to their own customers.

The company declined to name any partners or disclose how many small businesses are using its platform, though Simopolous said Defendify works with distribution partners all over the country.

He sees lots of expansion opportunity given the estimated 29 million small businesses in the United States, half of which have experienced a cyberattack in the last 12 months.

"We know they definitely need to get protection in place," he said.

On the hiring front he said Defendify does all its recruitment in-house, and gets strong interest from out-of-state job applicants attracted to Portland.

The company has also found that jobs it advertises on social media are sometimes shared by thousands.

'Wonderful' startup community

As part of his own role as a business owner, Simopoulos is often out educating small businesses about the need for cybersecurity protection, as well as comparing notes with fellow entrepreneurs.

"There is a wonderful startup community here in Maine," he said. "There's a lot of opportunity, and there's a lot of knowledge-sharing and bouncing off ideas with all the different founders here."





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