Dave Merkel on Why MDR Firm Expel Sought More Money in 2022Co-Founder and CEO on Why Expel Is Growing in Europe and Slowing Its Pace of Hiring
Investors poured another $31 million into Expel less than a year after the managed detection and response vendor hauled in $140 million in funding. Investors' dollars will fuel international expansion and provide a financial cushion, says co-founder and CEO Dave Merkel.
The Washington, D.C.-area vendor is doubling down on the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands to take advantage of its existing customer base and a regulatory environment that is well suited to Expel's product, Merkel says. The company's existing workforce must underpin growth, since Merkel says Expel slowed hiring in case of choppy economic times ahead (see: Threat Report: The Rapid Rise of Identity-Based Attacks).
"If something bad does occur, there's only one way to fix that, and I'd rather not have to be in that cost-cutting, headcount-reduction situation if I can avoid it," Merkel says. "I can't promise that's not going to happen. No CEO can see the future. But we're being prudent right now just to reduce the likelihood that would become necessary."
In a video interview with Information Security Media Group, Merkel also discusses:
- Why now is the right time for Expel to grow in Europe;
- Why organizations prefer MDR providers to MSSPs;
- Expel's top areas of technological innovation in 2022.
Merkel has been involved in the information security field for nearly 30 years, first as a federal agent pursuing cybercriminals in the era of floppy disks and 2400 baud modems and then as chief technology officer and vice president of products at Mandiant. Following FireEye's acquisition of Mandiant, he served as the global CTO of FireEye. Before that, Merkel spent a decade as a security practitioner. He got his start as a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, pursuing cybercriminals and conducting digital forensic investigations, and later was head of AOL's technical security organization. While at AOL, Merkel created and ran the first incident response capability for AOL and Time Warner, managed software security and policy programs, and built technologies for AOL's security infrastructure.