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Name: DeepNines Technologies

HQ: Dallas, Texas

Founded: 2002

Management: Sue Dark is the founder and CEO. She has a heavy technology background; she was a member of the instrumentation development team for the Apollo 11 and 12 groups at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory. Dark also designed and developed software to test semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Jim Binder, vice president of engineering, was previously a senior engineer in the LAN access business unit at Extreme Networks and spent 11 years at 3Com.

Investors: In March 2004, the company raised $16 million. The investors include Dawntreader Ventures and Insight Venture Partners, both of New York, and EFO Holdings of Dallas.

Business Model: DeepNines makes security software called Sleuth9 that establishes a first line of defense in front of – not behind – a corporate router. By sitting at the “edge” of the network and in front of the router, the software is able to inspect data before nasty code can enter and wreak havoc. DeepNines offers an all-in-one package including firewall, intrusion prevention, anti-virus, and forensic capture and reporting features. The company currently focuses on customers in the education, government, telecommunications, energy and financial services fields.

Competitors: VSecure, Captus, IntruGuard Devices and TopLayer.

Dirt: When a Cisco Systems router security flaw was exposed in January, DeepNines pulled a shrewd publicity move, issuing a release that was widely cited in the trade press. Dan Jackson, president and COO, was all over the place with this foreboding message: “From a security standpoint, 2005 is the year that the router becomes the Achilles heel of the network. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire – meaning these won’t be the last router vulnerabilities we hear about this year.”

We’re not aware of any big security gaffes since Cisco’s January announcement, but you can put good money on the fact that malicious activity will only increase over the coming years. Ed Sim, a partner at Dawntreader Ventures and a member of the DeepNines Board of Directors, told us that Cisco routers, with lines of code numbering in the millions, are a choice target for Net ne’er-do-wells, much like the Windows operating system. Corporate anxiety should continue to bring customers in the door for DeepNines.

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