Ondřej Vlček has served as our Chief Technology Officer since 2007. Mr. Vlček manages our research and development, including the AVAST Virus Lab. Mr. Vlček joined us as a software developer in 1995. He was part of the team that developed our first antivirus program for Windows in 2003 and directs avast! technologies and innovations such as SafeZone. 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.
William Salisbury has served as our Chief Financial Officer since November 2011. Previously, Mr. Salisbury served as the Chief Financial Officer of Crescendo Bioscience, Inc., a privately-held molecular diagnostics company, where he was a member of the executive management team and had responsibility for financial strategy, capital raising and other finance and administrative matters. From 1994 to 2008, Mr. Salisbury served as an officer, most recently Managing Director, in Morgan Stanley's Investment Banking Division, where he advised senior management of technology companies on equity and debt financings, including initial public offerings. Mr. Salisbury holds a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Glenn Taylor has served as our Vice President of Sales since October 2011. 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 VP of eCommerce since 2012, and before that was our eCommerce Director since 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 two websites supporting new AVG 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, has served as our Chairman of the Board since the incorporation of AVAST Software a.s. in December 2006. 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, one of our co-founders, has served as one of our Directors since the incorporation of AVAST Software a.s. in December 2006. 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.
Kenneth Goldman has served as one of our Directors since November 2011. Since October 2012, Mr. Goldman has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Yahoo!, responsible for Yahoo!’s global finance functions. From 2007 until 2012, Mr. Goldman served as the Chief Financial Officer of Fortinet, Inc., a provider of network security appliances and Unified Threat Management. From November 2006 until August 2007, Mr. Goldman was the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Dexterra, Inc., a provider of mobile enterprise software. Prior to joining Dexterra, from August 2000 through March 2006, Mr. Goldman was Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer of Siebel Systems, Inc., a supplier of customer service software. From July 1996 to July 2000, Mr. Goldman served as Senior Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Excite@Home, Inc., an internet service provider. Mr. Goldman currently serves as a member of the board of directors of BigBand Networks, Inc., a networking equipment company, Infinera Corporation, a provider of digital optical networking systems, and NXP Semiconductors NV, a semiconductor company. Mr. Goldman also served as a member of the Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession. He is a member of the board of trustees of Cornell University. Mr. Goldman holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
John G. Schwarz has been one of our Directors since December 2011. 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 VP of Windows Products since 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 as one of our Directors 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).
Steve Cullen has served as our Chief Strategy Officer since April 2013. He brings over 25 years of executive leadership, Marketing, and Product Management experience to AVAST. Prior to joining us, Mr. Cullen was Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing for Symantec. From 1996 to 2005, Mr. Cullen led Symantec’s worldwide consumer and enterprise security business, growing the Norton brand from $300M to over $1.3B in five years. Between stints at Symantec, he founded a startup venture that put research-grade telescopes on the Internet for citizen scientists, university students, and researchers. Early in his career, Mr. Cullen held senior marketing and product management roles with Micrografx, Contact Software, Delrina, and Concur.
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.
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.
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 Antivirus for Mac; 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.
1. On 8 April 2014, Microsoft stops support for Internet Explorer browsers running on Windows XP. This will put your computer and data, such as credit card and online banking details, at greater risk to hackers and malware.
2. Several browser alternatives exist, but we at AVAST use and recommend Chrome, as we find it to be the most-secure option available.