Vincent Steckler has served as our Chief Executive Officer and one of our Directors since 2009. Prior to joining us, Mr. Steckler was the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Consumer Sales at Symantec Corporation. Mr. Steckler joined Symantec in 2000 as Vice President of Public Sector Business and started Symantec's business of serving U.S. local, state, and federal governments. Mr. Steckler also served over two years as Symantec's Vice President for Asia/Pacific and Japan and was responsible for all enterprise and consumer business in that region. Prior to joining Symantec, Mr. Steckler had 20 years of experience in software development, systems analysis and engineering, project management, and business development. Mr. Steckler holds two B.S.'s from the University of California, Irvine, one in Mathematics and the other in Information and Computer Science.
Ondřej Vlček has served as our Chief Operations Officer since January 2014. Before that, he was from 2007 our Chief Technical Officer. Mr. Vlček joined us as a software developer in 1995, and was made a chief developer in 2003, when he was part of the team that developed our first antivirus program for Windows. Mr. Vlček holds an M.S. in Mathematics from Czech Technical University in Prague and commenced post-graduate studies in non-linear optimization at Charles University in Prague's Faculty of Mathematics and Physics.
Rene-H. Bienz has served as our Chief Financial Officer since October 2014. Previously, Mr. Bienz was the CFO at Fastweb in Milan, a subsidiary of Swisscom and Italy’s main alternative telecommunications provider. From 2005 to 2011, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Bakcell, the 2nd largest mobile operator in Azerbaijan. Mr. Bienz has a long career in Finance and has held senior positons in Italy, Azerbaijan, Switzerland and at Czech Telecom (nowadays O2) in the Czech Republic. Mr. Bienz holds a Master in Business Administration (major in Banking and Finance) from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland and a title from Harvard Business School.
Glenn Taylor has served as our Chief Strategy Officer since January 2014. Before that, he was from 2011 our Vice President of Sales. Prior to joining us, from 2006 to 2010, Mr. Taylor served as Senior Director of eCommerce Sales at Symantec Corporation, where he led the e-commerce retention and partner sales teams. From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Taylor served as Senior Director of Public Sector Sales at Symantec, where he led the state and local government and education sales team. Prior to Symantec, Mr. Taylor was a Director of IT Acquisition & Combat Support in the United States Air Force, where he led major IT initiatives, including setting up the first Air Force portal for business systems, and negotiating all enterprise-wide agreements for commercial technologies. Mr. Taylor holds a B.S. in Operations Research from the United States Air Force Academy and an M.S.S.M. from the University of Southern California. .
Miloš Korenko has served as our Marketing Director since 2009. Previously, Mr. Korenko was for three years the marketing director at AVG Technologies, where he renamed the company (formerly Grisoft) and helped it to become the second best known antivirus software. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Korenko was Europe-wide marketing manager for the Unilever European Innovation Center (France), where he led the new product and brand development of FMCG in terms of monitoring, analysis, design, concept provision, strategic planning, and cross-border implementation for its core brands Amora, Calve, and Hellmann's. Prior to this position, Mr. Korenko served three years as Unilever's marketing manager for the Czech and Slovak republics.
Josef Hos has served as our Vice President of eCommerce and Sales since January 2014. Before that, he was from 2012 our Vice President of eCommerce, and before that was our eCommerce Director from 2009. Prior to joining AVAST Software, Mr. Hos was for more than three years the web marketing manager at AVG Technologies, where he led the release of websites supporting new products and greatly improved user flow, conversion rates, and revenues in the free-to-paid channel.
Jindřich Kubec has served as Virus Lab Director since 2009. Mr. Kubec joined us in tech support in 1994, then became a virus analyst for mostly high-level and non-native platforms, as well as contributing to back-end systems design. Mr. Kubec was also part of the team that designed Avast’s setup and network architectures.
Eduard Kučera, one of our co-founders, served as our Chairman of the Board from the incorporation of AVAST Software a.s. in December 2006 until January 2014. Since 1991, Mr. Kučera was responsible for the activities of our predecessor entity, ALWIL Software partnership. From 1991 to 2009, Mr. Kučera also served as our Chief Executive Officer, directing day-to-day operations that included the transition to a free software distribution model in 2002. Prior to co-founding Avast, Mr. Kučera was a computer hardware specialist at the Czech Computer Research Institute (VUMS). In 2009, Mr. Kučera was named Ernst & Young's "Entrepreneur of the Year 2009" for the Czech Republic. Mr. Kučera holds a Doctorate of Natural Sciences degree in experimental physics from Charles University in Prague.
Pavel Baudiš is one of our co-founders and served as one of our Directors from the incorporation of AVAST Software a.s. in December 2006 until January 2014. In 1988, Mr. Baudiš wrote the original software program from which our current portfolio of security solutions has developed. Since 1991, Mr. Baudiš has played a leading role in the development of our business with our predecessor entity, ALWIL Software partnership. Prior to co-founding Avast, Mr. Baudiš was a graphics specialist at the Czech Computer Research Institute (VUMS). Mr. Baudiš holds an M.S.c. in Information Technology from the Prague School of Chemical Engineering.
Scott Collins has served as one of our Directors since August 2010. Mr. Collins is a Managing Director of Summit Partners, L.P., a global growth equity firm. Mr. Collins joined Summit in 1996 and founded the firm's London office, which he currently manages. Prior to joining Summit, Mr. Collins worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company and served on a variety of positions with the U.S. federal government. Mr. Collins currently serves as a member of the board of directors of Actix Limited, a mobile network analytics and optimization company, Acturis Limited, an information technology and services company, Bigpoint GmbH, an online gaming company, Multifonds (IGEFI Group Sàrl), a fund accounting and transfer agency software company, Ogone SA/NV, an online payment service provider, vente-privee.com SAS, a members-only online provider of high-end consumer products, and Welltec International, provider of precision robotic solutions for oil and gas wells. Mr. Collins holds an A.B. in Economics from Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
John G. Schwarz has been on our Board since December 2011.In January of 2014, he became Chairman of the Board for AVAST Software s.r.o. Since May 2010, Dr. Schwarz has served as co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Visier LLC, a business analytics software firm. Dr. Schwarz previously served on the executive board of SAP AG from March 2008 to February 2010. From September 2005 through its acquisition by SAP in January 2008, Dr. Schwarz was the Chief Executive Officer of Business Objects S.A., a provider of business intelligence software and services. Before joining Business Objects, Dr. Schwarz served as President and COO of Symantec Corporation from December 2001 to September 2005. Prior to joining Symantec, from January 2000 to November 2001, Dr. Schwarz served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Reciprocal Inc., which provided business-to-business secure e-commerce services for digital content distribution over the internet. Before joining Reciprocal, Dr. Schwarz spent 25 years at IBM Corporation where most recently he was General Manager of IBM's Industry Solutions unit, a worldwide organization focused on building business applications and related services for IBM's large industry customers. Dr. Schwarz serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Information Technology Association of America's Software Board. A native of Prague, Dr. Schwarz has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Manitoba, a Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Toronto, and an honorary PhD from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Pavel Šedina has served as our Vice President of Engineering since January 2014. Before that, he was our Vice President of Windows Products from 2012, and for two years before that was our Program Manager for the Windows platform. Mr. Šedina joined us as a software developer in 2001 and was part of the team that developed Avast 4, which launched in 2002. He led product development for Avast versions 6 and 7 and continues to lead Avast platform integration. Prior to joining us, Mr. Šedina was for two years a software developer of a banking system for the local division of Société Générale. Mr. Šedina holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from College of Information Management and Business Administration in Prague.
Erwin Gunst has served on our Board since October 2012. From July 2008 to March 2010, Mr. Gunst served as Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Executive Board of SAP AG where he was responsible for global operations, information technology, human resources, and the management of all SAP Labs worldwide. From October 2004 to July 2008, Mr. Gunst served as a Corporate Officer of SAP AG and President of Customer and Solutions Operations for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. From 1988 to 2004, Mr. Gunst served in a variety of positions with SAP, including Managing Director of SAP AG subsidiaries in Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, and, previously, positions in Finance and Controlling at SAP International AG in Switzerland. Mr. Gunst holds a M.S. in Commercial Engineering from the Free University (Solvay) in Brussels, Belgium.
Alan Rassaby has served as our General Counsel and Company Secretary since February 2013. From 2000 to 2012, he was the General Counsel of RightNow Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ RNOW) where he also spent several years as Company Secretary and SVP of Global Human Resources. Before that, Mr. Rassaby was SVP and General Counsel both of Powerhouse Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ PWRH) and Anchor Gaming, Inc. (NASDAQ SLOT) after Anchor’s acquisition of Powerhouse. Prior to becoming in house counsel to software companies, Mr. Rassaby practiced law in Australia, where he was a partner in Phillips Fox, Lawyers. Mr. Rassaby received his initial law degree from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics and Political Science of London University in England. He is a member of the State bars of NSW and Victoria (Australia) and Oregon (United States).
Ulf Claesson has served as one of our directors since October 2012. Since 2009, Mr. Claesson has served as a Partner at BLR & Partners AG, a private equity firm located in Zurich, Switzerland. From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Claesson built up and ran one of HP’s product divisions as a General Manager and Vice President after having one of his companies acquired by Hewlett-Packard Corporation. From 2002 to 2006, he was Co-Founder and Chairman of Silverwire Group (now a Hewlett-Packard Company). Prior to co-founding Silverwire Group, in 1997 he founded Whitecap GmbH and Whitecap LLP, where he also serves as Managing Director to this day. From 1977 to 1997, Mr. Claesson served in various European and global management and executive positions at IBM Corporation, where he, among other new business segments, built up IBM’s global Distribution business and its OEM business in Continental Europe. He also serves as a member of the board of the Swiss Federal Commission for Innovation and Technology and is a lecturer, teaching Entrepreneurship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Mr. Claesson holds a M.Sc. from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Kamila Štěpánková has served as our Human Resources Director since June 2013. Prior to joining us, Mrs. Štěpánková was for three years at CSC Computer Sciences, where she led Human Resources for Austria and Eastern Europe and was responsible for development and implementation of regional HR strategy, leadership consultation, and deployment of global HR projects at the regional level. Prior to joining CSC Computer Sciences, Mrs. Štěpánková served for six years at SAP as HR Business Partner Manager for Global Shared Services. Mrs. Štěpánková holds a Bachelor’s of HR Management from Charles University and a Master’s of Adult Education from University of J.A. Komensky.
Chris Benham has served as our Chief Marketing Officer since August 2013. Prior to joining us, Mr. Benham served as Chief Marketing Officer for Webroot, where he helped the company grow to the number one antivirus provider rank (from number five) for the U.S. retail market. Prior to joining Webroot, Mr. Benham served as a Vice President of Global Marketing for Symantec. During his eleven-year tenure with Symantec, the company grew from $200 million to $6 billion in revenue. His efforts helped Symantec and Norton reach the number one positions in both mindshare and market share for enterprise and consumer antivirus. He has more than 25 years of experience in high-technology marketing, having also worked at Sun Microsystems and Tandem Computers. Mr. Benham holds a B.S. in Journalism/Advertising and a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas.
Pavel Kučera has served as our Chief Technical Officer since January 2014. Before that, he was our Director of Cloud Systems from 2012, and for a year before that started with us as an IT Infrastructure Architect. Prior to joining us, Mr. Kučera was for 11 years a Systems Engineer for SUN Microsystems. Mr. Kučera holds a Master of Science degree in Information Technology from Charles University in Prague.
Lukáš Hasik has served as our Vice President of Customer Care and Satisfaction since January 2014. Before that, he was our Quality Assurance Director from 2010. Mr. Hasik built the Quality Assurance team at Avast, responsible for all products from consumer-focused Windows antivirus to mobile products. Prior to joining us, Mr. Hasik worked for Sun Microsystems, which he joined in 2000, in various QA positions related to the Java tools ecosystem (e.g. Netbeans, Mobility, JavaFX Designer). Mr. Hasik holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic.
Managing Director, joined CVC in 2010. Sid is a member of the CVC Telecommunications, Media, and Technology team and is based in London. Prior to joining CVC, he was with Apax Partners, where he spent nine years in the Technology and Telecommunications team leading or co-leading transactions across the sector. Prior to Apax, he worked at Monitor Company. Sid holds First Class MA and BA Degrees from the University of Oxford.
Partner, joined CVC in 2008. Lorne is the Head of the CVC Telecommunications, Media, and Technology team and is based in London. Prior to joining CVC, he worked for UBS, where he was Joint Global Head of Telecommunications and Head of the European Communications Group, and Swisscom AG as Head of Swisscom International. Lorne holds an MA in Computer Sciences from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from IMD, Lausanne.
Jude McColgan has served as our President of Mobile since June 2014. He is responsible for innovation, development, and distribution of our security solutions across our global mobile business. Prior to joining Avast, Mr. McColgan served as Vice President & General Manager of Mobile for Nuance Communications, the leader in text, voice, and natural language technology in the mobile market. Before that he was Mobile and Consumer Group Vice President at TomTom where he successfully led acquisitions in building the company’s location-based services portfolio, partnering with global device manufacturers, carriers, and internet brands. Mr. McColgan has almost 20 years of software experience and spent nearly ten years at Oracle in various consulting, sales, and management positions. Mr. McColgan holds a BS from Northeastern University and is a graduate of the Tuck Executive Program at Dartmouth College.
Avast’s roots go back to 1988, when Czech researchers Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš encountered the Vienna Virus and began their quest to save the world’s computers from it and others like it.
Today, Avast has over 380 professionals headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, with additional offices in Germany, the USA, and China, distribution partners in all markets, and a global community of Avast enthusiasts.
Going from strength to strength, Avast adds 30 million new users to reach a total of more than 230 million active users worldwide. The company also welcomes a new investor, CVC Capital Partners, which values Avast at 1 billion USD; on the mobile front, Avast buys startup Inmite and adds 40 mobile developers to its mobile business. Meanwhile, Avast Mobile Security reaches 100 million downloads faster than any mobile security app in Google Play history, and AV-Comparatives ranks Avast as the most popular mobile security provider in North America, South America, and Europe, and third in Asia. New product launches: Avast 2015, with four new features (Home Network Security, Secure DNS, HTTPS Scanning, and Smart Scan), Avast SecureLine VPN for Android and iOS, Avast GrimeFighter, and Avast Ransomware Removal. Avast reaches 500 employees and opens new offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Seoul.
On its 25th anniversary, Avast antivirus claims an industry record by protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, and Android devices worldwide – and is ranked the most-downloaded product on several major global software portals. As well, AVAST Software (the company) acquires the German company secure.me and USA-based startup Jumpshot, gets awarded the Czech Republic’s “Best Employer 2013” in the category of large companies, and finishes the year as the most-profitable IT company in its home country, with just over 350 employees. New product launches: Avast 2014 series, with our new Artificial-Intelligence-driven DynaGen technology; Avast SecureLine VPN (a virtual private network for encrypting and anonymizing web activity); and Avast GrimeFighter (for optimizing/speeding up PC functionality).
Avast finishes the year actively protecting over 170 million PCs, Macs, and Android devices, with just over 200 employees. Avast Free Mobile Security reaches best-rated security app in Google Play, and Avast Free Antivirus achieves the top-downloaded software spot on Download.com. New product launches: Avast Free Mac Security; Avast 7.0 series, with new innovations that include Remote Assistance (for giving/getting help to/from a friend with Avast), the Avast Account portal (for overseeing all Avast protected devices), and cloud-based FileRep (a file reputation detection) and streaming, real-time virus database updates.
By midyear, Avast has more than 135 million active users and over 165 million user registrations – all with just over 150 employees. New product launches: Avast Business Protection line (with a simplified central administration console); Avast 6.0 series, with new innovations that include: WebRep™ (a website reputation tool), SafeZone (a clean-desktop option for added safety with sensitive online transactions), and AutoSandbox™ (the first automatic virtualization feature offered within a free antivirus).
Summit Partners invests $100 million for a minority share of the company, confirming the unique position of Avast in the global marketplace. Says Han Sikkens, a Principal in Summit Partners, "it is rare to find a company such as Avast that redefines how an industry does business. We are very excited about the growth prospects of this exceptional company." ALWIL Software changes its name to AVAST Software, to more closely align the company with the brand, and Avast reaches 130 million registered users. New product launches: Avast 5.0 series, with a new antivirus engine and an optional Silent Firewall and virtualization Sandbox.
To strengthen the team, ALWIL hires Vincent Steckler (formerly of Symantec) as CEO. The Avast registered-user base jumps from 68 million to over 100 million, and the company reaches 100 employees. New product launch: the 5.0 series of Avast Free Antivirus, Avast Pro Antivirus, and Avast Internet Security.
ALWIL puts major focus on acquiring a multinational sales and support team and localizing Avast antivirus and avast.com into more languages. The company reaches 50 million registered users and 60 employees. New product launch: Avast 4.8.
The company reaches 40 million registered Avast users with only 38 employees, for a ratio of one million users per employee, which the company will maintain over the coming years. ALWIL Software transforms into a joint stock company. New product launches: Avast Mac Edition and Avast Windows Home Server Edition.
The Avast user base doubles twice, first to 10 million and then to 20 million by year's end, in large part due to the availability of more language versions and a number of industry awards for quality. Avast sweeps the SC Awards categories with Best Antivirus, as well as Anti-Malware (European) and Readers' Choice (USA). New product launch: Avast Linux Home Edition.
As a great way for Avast to reach new users at a time when the internet does not have such high penetration, ALWIL begins cooperation with SanDisk. Thanks to this partnership, Avast needs language localization for all SanDisk markets. Thus, ALWIL hires the first people for in-house localization and support – this is the first step toward Avast becoming an international success in terms of supported languages. New product launches: Avast U3 Edition (for SanDisk) and Avast 4.6.
Only 30 months after its first user registration, the free version of Avast reaches one million users. Until this time, it remains uncertain as to whether giving for free what others sell will work, but reaching one million users confirms a successful increase in visibility for the company. ALWIL implements an international reseller channel for its paid-for security solutions. New product launches: Avast Linux version, Avast 4.5 Home/Professional edition, Avast Distributed Network Manager (ADNM), and Avast BART CD 2.0.
The growing free Avast user base generates a need to offer other paid-for solutions effectively online. Thus, ALWIL turns to Digital River's online sales distribution share-it! New product launches: Avast Bootable Antivirus & Recovery Tool (BART) CD and the (free) Avast 4 Home Edition (under Ondrej Vlček's R&D supervision).
Co-founder Eduard Kučera implements an innovative user-community growth strategy based on the principle that all computer users deserve protection from harmful threats, and that computer safety should not be a luxury some cannot afford. Thus, on June 1, ALWIL Software launches a free antivirus solution for home (non-commercial) use. Six months later (January, 2002), a new registration system sees the very first user registration of free Avast antivirus Home Edition.
ALWIL Software provides the Avast antivirus engine to McAfee, which licenses it for use in its own line of McAfee antivirus products – proving the effectiveness of Avast antivirus technologies with the "Powered by Avast engine" logo on the McAfee VirusScan boxes. Also, ALWIL hires its first tech-support specialist, Pavel Mourek.
Avast antivirus is one of the first three antivirus programs globally to win Virus Bulletin's VB100 awards in all testing categories. Virus Bulletin magazine is highly recognized as a leading independent authority on computer security, and even a single VB100 award is difficult to attain.
A young Ondrej Vlček (current Avast CTO) joins ALWIL while completing his university studies. He writes the first antivirus program for Windows 95.
Founders Pavel Baudiš and Eduard Kučera, free from the socioeconomic constraints of the former regime, finally transform ALWIL Software from a 'cooperative' into a joint partnership 'company'.
The Velvet Revolution and new Czechoslovak independence from the Soviet Union bring economic freedom to business endeavors. In the preceding years, organizations were not allowed to have 'company' status and had to remain only a 'cooperative'.
Pavel Baudiš, then a researcher at Prague's Mathematical Machines Research Institute, encounters a sample of the Vienna Virus and, intrigued by it, writes a program able to remove it. He then shows it to colleague Eduard Kučera and, together, they start ALWIL Software cooperative, which releases the first Avast antivirus. Due to the oppressive regime, they are unable to form a 'company' at this time.