With about 30 years of entrepreneurial experience, Florin Talpes, co-founder and CEO of Bitdefender, is now one of the most high-profile entrepreneurs in Romania and also well known abroad, having developed a product used by half a billion consumers worldwide.
Florin Talpes made his entrance on the software industry in 1990 as a researcher at the Institute for Computing Technology in Bucharest. He started his first business, Softwin, with just USD 200, or the equivalent of two months’ salary at that time (the early ‘90s). The company was specialized in the development of software applications for French firms. His business developed significantly and in 2001, along with his wife, Mariuca Talpes, he founded Bitdefender. The company is now the developer of one of the most effective range of IT security solutions certified at international level: each day, Bitdefender technology provides protection for the digital data of 500 million users worldwide.
In addition, a recent PwC study ranked Bitdefender the 17th largest emerging market software company in the world by turnover. The study, conducted in conjunction with International Data Corp., surveyed 30 software firms in emerging markets. The research found that the companies included in the study had certain common characteristics, such as experience and understanding of local markets; common advantages, such as low-cost structures, entrepreneurial culture and demographics; and common challenges, such as distance, funding and trust.
In 2007, the Talpes family sold a minority stake in Bitdefender to a consortium of seven Romanian and American investors led by Horia Manda, a veteran Romanian venture capitalist. Eight years later, the company launched on the American market Bitdefender Box, an innovative hardware solution for the security of the network to which it is connected. Furthermore, at the beginning of this year it launched its second version of Bitdefender Box, a piece of equipment that provides protection against dangerous applications that target devices connected to the internet, from mobile phones to TVs and other smart devices.
A promising 2017
At the beginning of this year Bitdefender announced the takeover of Profil Technology, its partner on the French market, as part of the company’s expansion strategy on the large companies segment. This is the biggest acquisition conducted by Bitdefender and strengthens the firm’s position in Europe and at global level.
According to company representatives, the takeover allows Bitdefender to diversify its presence on the French market, both on the enterprise as well as on the customer sector. As a result, a team of 50 sales, marketing and customer relations professionals will join the firm.
Bitdefender entered France in 2001 and became a strong player on the French market of cyber security solutions, controlling a third of the market of solutions purchased in stores by French customers.
“France is a key market for us in the future. By taking over our in-house business, we will be able to be closer to our partners and clients and we aim to replicate in the enterprise sector our success on the residential consumer market, using the technological superiority of our products in order to take a leadership position,” said Talpes. According to company representatives, Bitdefender has increased its sales to large companies threefold over the past three years. Last year, the company established a local presence on the Italian and Swedish markets as part of its global expansion strategy, and has doubled its network of partners in the past two years.
Last but not least, the Talpes family have expressed their interest in listing their company on the stock exchange by 2018. The first step will be to attract a new minority shareholder this year.
Bitdefender is one of the few Romanian companies that have managed to succeed on external markets. The majority of its business focuses on international markets, especially the USA and Western Europe. As the Financial Times notes, in time, Bitdefender became a real model for local startups. Last year the company was named a “visionary” company within Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant” for its terminal protection platforms.