Editor’s note: Executive Q&A is a regular feature on Tuesdays.Glenn McGonnigle, one of the co-founders of Internet Security Systems who left the company last year, is back in the security business. But his new job as the new chief executive officer at VistaScape Security Systems has a different twist to it.
“We are not competitive with ISS, which is an information security company,” he tells Local Tech Wire. VistaScape focuses on physical security software rather than keeping out hackers and crackers. But McGonnigle also says the companies share some of the same objectives.
“I do see a lot of similarities,” he says. “VistaScape is applying the principles of info-security to the management of physical security. In fact, the two markets are ultimately converging around policy-based processes: what to detect and how to respond.”
VistaScape has developed integrated security and surveillance software that integrates such diverse systems as closed-circuit TV, radar, global position satellite and access controls. And in the post 9-11 secure conscious world, the new CEO believes the company is positioned for strong growth.
McGonnigle replaced Bill Green as CEO at VistaScape last week. Green had recruited McGonnigle for VistaScape’s advisory board, recognizing his experience in software, and then groomed McGonnigle as his replacement. Green said VistaScape needed someone with more software experience in charge, and he remains actively involved with the firm as an advisor.
McGonnigle had spent the past year as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta and is an active leader in the Technology Association of Georgia. He has nearly 20 years experience in software and while at ISS led its strategic alliance efforts. Before joining ISS he was co-founder of Data Integrity Services Corporation.
“I was an entrepreneur before ISS and it’s still in my blood,” he said when he accepted the VistaScape job. “My new passion is to lead VistaScape forward and revolutionize the physical security world.”
What excites you most about your new venture/company?
The technology is at the right place at the right time. VistaScape provides a solution that improves security while also reducing the cost of maintaining that security. Across the board, the government and private sectors are allocating funds for just this type of solution.
Post 9-11, there is an increasing trend towards more sophisticated security efforts. It’s not uncommon for a single facility to use a number of different sensors — multiple cameras, infrared detection, access control systems, and even GPS. What they’ve lacked until now is an IT solution that ties these different systems into a single manageable interface.
I’m extremely excited at the opportunity to build VistaScape into a leading software solution for physical security integration.
What factors led to your decision to return to a full-time position, especially as a CEO given the increasing amount of pressure on corporate leaders in this economy and more regulated environment?
The technology and business proposition of the company appealed to me personally. It is a tough economy, but great people with good ideas and the ability to execute can make it in any environment.
What differentiates VistaScape from the rest of the security/surveillance field?
VistaScape doesn’t compete with vendors of security products — we actually provide them with a platform to sell more products. For instance, FLIR is a large supplier of industrial cameras to the government and military sector. They recently partnered with us to integrate their cameras into our security integration platform. We’re actively marketing to customers with them on a joint basis. We have similar relationships with other product suppliers and security integrators.
Do you see similarities between VistaScape and ISS? How are they different? Do you compete with ISS?
We are not competitive with ISS, which is an information security company.
I do see a lot of similarities. VistaScape is applying the principles of info-security to the management of physical security. In fact, the two markets are ultimately converging around policy-based processes: what to detect and how to respond. The software uses pre-determined policies and rules for a security perimeter, and alerts security personnel only when a significant event takes place. This improves security and reduces the number of personnel needed to manage large numbers of sensors.
Is the homeland security market a big opportunity for VistaScape?
Absolutely. Homeland defense and security are areas that have taken on increased importance over the past two years. Our largest customer is the US Navy. We are also installed at three airports. We see a lot of interest from the government and military sectors as well from commercial and industrial areas that need to manage large physical areas or high-risk assets with multiple sensors.
Do you plan to remain involved in TAG and your other endeavors? Will you do more angel investing? Please explain.
When I first moved to Atlanta 10ten years ago, I told my wife not to get too comfortable because we would probably end up in Silicon Valley. That’s not the case now. I firmly believe that Atlanta has the qualities and culture to support a vibrant technology start-up industry. TAG is a great organization that I will continue to support. I will also continue to actively mentor and support young entrepreneurs and companies. I am involved with various angel investment groups.
Is the company seeking additional funding? If so, how much and when do you hope to close?
VistaScape is in the midst of raising an additional of funding, targeted at $5 million to $6 million. The round is expected to close by the fall.
Are you bringing in additional managers?
We hope to ramp up hiring when we close our next round of funding.