A cyber-success in South Florida tech: From 4-man startup to $232.5M sale

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Author: Nancy Dahlberg
Publisher: Miami Herald
Date: December 19, 2014

Success stories in South Florida entrepreneurship don’t always follow the classic script of dream, launch, grow, sell and start all over again. Sometimes the founder starts out as an “accidental entrepreneur,” stays with the acquiring company and grows the team into a successful division, providing jobs that power the local economy.

That’s Richard Dobrow’s story. In 2000, the young accountant started Guarded Networks Inc. or GNI, with three other colleagues, all just a couple of years out of school. After a couple of sales and name changes along the way, that venture with roots in South Florida became SilverSky, which sold on Friday to London-based defense giant BAE Systems for $232.5 million. But that’s getting ahead of the story.

After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting at Florida International University in the late ‘90s, Dobrow was working at Arthur Anderson in an area that was just beginning to get really hot: technology risk management. With Arthur Anderson in turmoil at the time, and futures uncertain, he and colleagues Sajid Khan, also an FIU alumnus, Thomas Neclerio and Brian Otte, decided to split off and start a company in this new area of expertise they had been building up – information security. Read more here.