A tech firm with roots in Vermont has raised $12.9 in venture capital that will help create new jobs at its Burlington office.
Pwnie Express started as a one-person business Central Vermont six years ago. Now there are 40 employees.
While its main office is in Boston, the engineering side of the business is in Burlington.
Pwnie Express makes sophisticated detection systems that companies use to monitor their networks and reduce the risk of breaches, which has become an increasing challenge with the ubiquity of Wi-Fi enabled devices.
A significant part of the problem is employee-owned devices such as cell phones and laptops that access a company’s Wi-Fi network.
“The devices that are coming into businesses today are devices that are owned by the employees, not by the company. So that is creating a security risk for the company,” says Pwnie Express CEO Paul Paget.
Other businesses create additional vulnerabilities. “It’s not just employees bringing in devices, it's vendors bringing in devices, and they want to service those devices remotely,” Paget says.
Pwnie Express, which takes its name from a hacker term, was started in 2010 by Dave Porcello, a Boston transplant. Porcello worked at a Montpelier insurance company before starting the business in nearby Berlin.
Paget says the company’s tech side has stayed in Vermont for good reason.
“Burlington is a real hotbed for software and security talent. There are people from the early days who are there who are very important to us. The universities are pumping out talent. There are other companies in the area, ” he says.
Paget says the hiring market for talent is also much more competitive in Boston. He says the company plans to hire another four or five employees at its Burlington office this year.