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Now in Six Countries, and 'Around the World 14 Times'—Oooo, Barracuda

This Campbell company has expanded since its founding in 2003. Its co-founder talks to us about the journey.

One of Campbell's hometown giants is web security firm Barracuda Networks. The eight-year-old company has been headquartered in Campbell since 2007.

At its inception, it had three employees. Now, it has more than 800 employees in six countries throughout the world --with support and distribution centers as far away as Austria, Japan and China.

Campbell Patch recently got a chance to catch up with with co-founder Michael Perone, chief marketing officer and executive vice-president. Perone manages the company's marketing department, along with much of the business development activity.

Campbell Patch: How would you describe Barracuda Networks to someone who has never heard of it before?

Michael Perone: I would say that Barracuda Networks is an enterprise IT company; we sell easy-to-use-and-manage technology products to help secure corporate networks, accelerate their business applications and protect their information and data.

Patch: Do you have any fun facts about Barracuda Networks and what it does?

Perone: Well, if you wanted to know how much EMAIL Barracuda Networks processes each day?

I would say that if every email that Barracuda Networks processed each day was on a normal sheet of paper, 8½-by-11, the paper trail could wrap around the Earth 14 times each day.

Here is the math: (650M emails, 112,847 miles of paper, 7,926 miles Earth diameter = 14 times)

And, our biggest product, the Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewall blocks enough spam each day to wrap around the Earth 11 times.*

*If each spam blocked by Barracuda each day was on a normal sheet a paper, the paper trail could wrap around the Earth 11 times each day. (650M emails, 82 percent spam = 533M spam, 92,534 miles of paper, 7,926 miles Earth diameter = 11 times)

Patch: As a co-founder of this company could you list the three most significant moments of this company up until today?

 Perone: So definitely when you say according to me, the moments end up being a little bit lighter then hardcore business moments.

The first moment that comes to mind is basically our first sale. The interesting thing about that moment was that we were only three people, the three founders, and we were all kind of getting the business put together. Getting our part of the business working.

One thing that fell under the guy doing marketing was our website, and I think I happened to put the website up a little earlier then everybody expected.

With in a couple of hours of the website being up, we had our first order. The order came in, and it was pretty surprising to other folks around, so that was pretty significant. That kind of accelerated our go to market plan.

Patch: What is No. 2?

Perone: No. 2 is something else that is another personal thing for me, and I think many people at the company take pride in this, but there was a point in time where we were a small startup, chugging along and doing what we could to make our customers happy. But there is a point in time that we saw Cisco and McAfee—some of the larger Silicon Valley players—start to address us specifically in their marketing materials.

They would have competitive pieces against Barracuda, or they would have a campaign that they ran about how they were better then Barracuda. That was two or three years into our history, and for me that was very exciting. We were on their radar.

Patch: And No. 3?

Perone: No. 3 is an interesting one. We were looking to getting a building in Campbell. The building we are in today, one of the things that came up in our due diligence on whether we were going to do it or not, was the fact that we populate buildings in a fairly dense way. You know, not very large desks, and we put a lot of people in a small area. It was pretty clear we were going to run out of parking in this building.

There really is an overflow of parking. I remember thinking the building and the location was great, and that the parking was going to be an issue. I remember saying to the groups of execs that we had in the room that would be a good problem to have—that we ran out of parking.

Now we have run out of parking. We subsequently have rented a building across the street and are moving folks over there. Again, these are kind of personal things that are interesting to me. I really enjoy coming here every day and seeing people double parking—not that that’s the right thing to do (laughter). I love that our parking is full and continues to get fuller.

Patch: Where do you hope to take Barracuda Networks in the next five years?

Perone: Interestingly is just more of the same. What we have done in the last seven or eight years is develop products into markets that we thought were interesting, and try to do the best possible product in that market. We started with one product and we are up 12 products today.

We have multiple additional products under development now, and we expect to have those products in the market in the next two to five years. So what we really want to do is keep doing what we're doing. We are not aspiring to change or be different then what we have been.

Patch: Who are your biggest competitors?

Perone: The competitive landscape for us, because we have 12 products currently and have had multiple products for a long time, is different across the products.

So for our No. 1 or first product, which is the Spam & Virus Firewall, our competitors are Cisco and Symantec. The second highest product, which is our web filtering system, our competitors are companies like Websense or Blue Coat.

Patch: Why is Barracuda Networks based in Campbell? And was this always the case?

Perone: So I will start with no, it was not always the case, but there has been a common theme with location of Barracuda Networks through its life.

It started in Los Altos, because it was off the 85 freeway, and every chance we had to move or can, we kind of always try to be off the 85 freeway. The other side of town was just hard for traffic.

We just thought we had an advantage getting employees if they could come up and down the 85. So when the Campbell building became available with great proximity to the 85 and even 17, it allowed us access to a lot of the folks that live in the South San Jose area—along with folks who come all the way from San Francisco, but they come down 280 and the 85.

We thought it was a prime place that could give us a chance to find employees that otherwise would not work for us, mainly because it is so much easier to get to us than, let's say, Mountain View.

Patch: Name three things that you like about Campbell?

Perone: So I think it would have to be the easy freeway access, and the local small airport. The San Jose Airport, being very close to the airport is very useful. 

I think we enjoy the downtown. The downtown is fun. When we bring folks in from out of town, and they see the downtown on weekends, it’s nice they don’t feel as displaced as maybe they would if they were in a place that was not as family friendly and comfortable. I think that works very well for us.

The third is the access to a talent pool that I don’t think we would have if we were directly competing against the North side of town—competing against Google and Facebook and so forth.

Patch: Is there anything in Campbell that you would like to see change?

There is nothing that I would like to see change. One note, though, I like downtown Campbell when they close it down on the weekend or Sundays.

I always wonder why it’s not closed all the time, since there is a road around the outside anyway. Not that that makes any difference for us as a business. It seems like the prime place for a courtyard type or downtown gathering place (laughter).

Patch: What is your favorite restaurant in Campbell?

Perone: The first one that comes to mind is Aldo's. I am not sure what city is in. It's right down the street from us, but it is possibly in Los Gatos.

The second one is the one where I had lunch today, and that has some history with the company, because they had a location near one of our previous locations. That is the Greek restaurant . It is the place that everybody who runs around the halls here says, “Hey are we going there this week?” and we bring a group over there. 

Patch: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Perone: I don’t know if fits into anything we are talking about, but we have been involved in the "Bike to Work Program" in Campbell for the last three years.

We are proud to have been doing that. It’s been something we have had a good time with. We also just recently developed a partnership with the to allow all our employees to take part and use the facilities.

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