Randy Caldejon, CTO & Founder, nPulse Technologies
What are you innovating on right now?
We’re developing network forensics technology to help solve a big data problem within the ﬁeld of cyber security; more speciﬁcally, incident response. The biggest pain point in incident response is that it takes analysts days to reconstruct the crime scene. A good example of this is the Target breach, which took over a month. One reason is because the current start-of-the-art in network forensic tools take days to comb through terabytes of data. On the other hand, our patent-pending technology reduces the mean-time-to-resolution down to minutes from days. This is because our technology takes a big data approach by breaking up the operations of capturing, decoding, extracting, and indexing into a cluster of streaming processes. By doing this, our technology is able to search and retreive key indicators of cyber attacks orders of magnitude faster than the competition.
What inspired you to follow an entrepreneurial path?
Good technology, aka software, enables society to operate with greater efficiencies by ofﬂoading mundane work. If there’s a faster, cheaper, or better way to do things and society values it, then it’s win/win. That said, by being a socially conscience entrepreneur, I am able to make a living and make a difference.
Tell us what you learned from your biggest failure.
Caution: going into business with your friends more often than not leads to disaster. If you do, make sure to structure the roles and responsibilities from the start. Better yet, use your network of professional relationships to assemble your leadership team based on the needs of the company. For example, if your core competency is technology, then ﬁnd somebody that is a strong business person (and vice versa). Most importantly, build an executive team with people that you trust and respect.
How does Charlottesville as a place support or fuel your innovations?
Organizations like CBIC and UVA; access to a highly educated talent pool; transportation that can get you to any major city within hours; and a wonderful quality of life. These are ways that Charlottesville fosters an ecosystem that enables early-stage companies to succeed.
What would you change or keep the same in Charlottesville?
I’m very excited about the interest that UVA has taken in Data Science (aka Big Data). I believe this is the next frontier in information technology so I would like to see the Charlottesville area become a leading innovation region for start-ups offering Data Science solutions. What’s exciting is that there are a handful of companies already leading the charge in various ﬁelds like ﬁnance, medicine, and cyber security.
What is your biggest need right now to advance your innovation?
Engineers that can think out of the box; especially, software engineers that truly understand computer architecture, i.e. the interface between hardware and software. We’re implementing Big Data platforms that process and analyze network sessions at 20 Gbps. We’re talking up to 30 million packets per second. To do this we need engineers that can design and implement concurrent software. That’s how we take high-performance solutions to market.
What is the view from your office like on a typical day?
Most of the time, I’m looking at my computer screen, responding to emails, glancing at tweets from pundits in the cyber security space, and stepping through code with gdb (code debugger). When I look across the hall, I see engineers holding impromptu white board sessions discussing the latest implementation challenge. From time to time I glance outside and enjoy God’s creation — the sunshine, brilliant skies, and the blue mountains. I resist the momentary urge to go biking through the countryside of Western Albemarle. Instead, I retreat back into my digital world to hunt down bug #555.