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How to Sharpen Focus and Own a Market: Imprivata CEO Omar Hussain (Part 2)

Posted on Friday, Feb 22nd 2013

Sramana: What did you do after Open Environment Corporation was purchased by Borland?

Omar Hussain: I took some time off. When I came back, I took a job with a company called NuMega, which was a company in the testing tools business. It was a company in New Hampshire that built developer tools. I went from enterprise software to shrink wrap software, where the focus was on volume. The company was doing about $9 million in revenue per year.

We changed the entire strategy shortly after I joined. We repackaged the company and went after a bigger market. The Internet was coming along, and there were a lot of people who knew development languages and tools. We did really well. We grew the business fairly significantly in a year and a half, which resulted in Compuware buying us out. I became the GM for the Windows business for Compuware, and I ran that business unit for a few years.

Sramana: What happened after you left Compuware?

Omar Hussain: I decided to start my own company. In January 2000 I started a company called Anchorsilk, which was an e-commerce company. We got funded and opened shop. We hired people and started writing code, and then in March 2000 the world collapsed. The Internet bubble burst, and nobody wanted to touch us or the Internet. In July 2001, just 18 months later, we shut down our offices and turned the lights off. We returned what capital was left to the investors.

After that I worked with a lot of local VCs, helping them explore different companies. One of the companies I was introduced to was Imprivata. It was just a concept, but it was in biotechnology and held promise. A lot of the VCs in the area wanted to fund it. I came along with a term sheet. When I joined there was not a product, just a PowerPoint slide deck.

Sramana: What year was this?

Omar Hussain: Imprivata was funded in February 2002.

Sramana: What was the idea that got funded in 2002?

Omar Hussain: This happened right after 9/11, so security was a big topic. The original idea behind the company was finger biometric authentication. The idea was to have a mechanism that would use your fingerprint to authenticate your access to applications and replace passwords and other authentication forms. [The founder] had been working at Polaroid where they had built large identity systems using fingerprint systems, so he came with very good technical expertise.

This segment is part 2 in the series : How to Sharpen Focus and Own a Market: Imprivata CEO Omar Hussain
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