Secure Agility has appointed David Abouhaidar as new CEO, amid a 50 per cent equity stake in Canberra-based Sliced Tech.
ARN can reveal that the Sydney-based security provider has accelerated expansion plans through a new executive line-up, increased headcount, widened footprint and deepened technology portfolio.
Effectively immediately, the move sees Abouhaidar - who exited as joint majority shareholder of AC3 in August 2017 - invest 33.33 per cent into the Secure Agility business, joining Charlie Tannous and John Tannous as equal stakeholders.
Furthermore, the equity stake will allow the company to provide Federal Government cloud and security services - currently delivered by Sliced Tech in Canberra - to the NSW Government and commercial customers.
Terms of the deal will see Jason McClure remain as CEO of the Sliced Tech business, with Abouhaidar joining the board as a director in an advisory capacity.
Both Secure Agility and Sliced Tech will continue to operate as separate companies and entities.
“We will be growing rapidly,” said Abouhaidar, when speaking exclusively to ARN. “Secure Agility is already a very successful business thanks to the work of Charlie and John, which talks to the happiest days I’ve had in this industry.
“We have a fantastic culture, with a great bunch of motivated people working for us.”
Abouhaidar said the business is currently undergoing a hiring spree across the industry, with plans in place to add 20 “heavy hitters” within the coming weeks, increasing headcount from 50 to 70 in the process.
Such rapid growth will see Secure Agility expand across the east coast of Australia within the next 12-18 months, backed up by new-found reach into the Canberra market through Sliced Tech.
“To get back into this industry, it had to be on the right terms,” Abouhaidar added. “I have similar ethical values to the executives at Secure Agility and Sliced Tech, which were the non-negotiable elements of the deal.
“We are equals on all sides and this represents a true partnership. The team and the customers will come first.”
Leveraging managed services expertise, Secure Agility specialises in the provision and deployment of security, networking and cloud solutions, delivered on a subscription basis.
“Whether it be security, software or infrastructure as-a-service, we are open for business,” Abouhaidar said. “We have a strong heritage in value and that won’t change, but we also need to increase the volume play.
“We want to ramp up our operations very quickly and to achieve that, we will on-board some key vendors.”
Currently, Secure Agility provides expertise across Telstra, Cisco, Meraki, Nutanix, Microsoft and Palo Alto Networks technologies, with a strategy now in place to increase vendor offerings across the market.
“As CEO, I have been given the authority to make quick decisions as to which vendors we will bring on board and I will make those decisions within the right areas,” Abouhaidar said. “We have a click of the finger flexibility at Secure Agility which is our key differentiator.
“We have a deep partnership with Telstra and are extremely strong from an educational point of view, as well as within networking and security.
“My tasks for the team before I came on-board was that I wanted the business to be gold partners for Cisco and Microsoft, which they have achieved. We are also a gold partner of Palo Alto Networks and there’s a very big focus on networking security.”
In addition to the hiring of Abouhaidar as new CEO, Secure Agility has also acquired a 50 per cent stake in Sliced Tech, a managed services provider specialises in the deployment of cloud and security solutions across government and enterprise markets.
“Secure Agility is a company that has an interest in Sliced Tech, but I don’t have any interest in Secure Agility at this point in time,” said McClure, when speaking to ARN.
The agreement represents an extension of a current partnership in place, in which both parties have partnered on a number of commercial opportunities across New South Wales (NSW) and Canberra.
“Secure Agility already resells or positions Sliced Tech services in those opportunities,” McClure added. “We originally started out as partners but over time we realised there was a natural fit with values, outlook and approach between myself, John and Charlie.
“The equity arrangement will make that partnership much more stronger going forward.”
Founded in 2011, Sliced Tech has pedigree across public, private and hybrid cloud platforms, experiencing year-on-year double digit growth during the past 12 months.
“We’re fast approaching a $10 million per annum revenue company which requires a sizeable investment of capital for future growth,” explained McClure, who also owns 50 per cent stake in the business.
“Investment from Secure Agility will help fund our growth and meet the aspirational goals that I’ve got as CEO. We had multiple approaches in the market but this wasn’t about the shareholders realising a quick win.
“We put every offer through the lens of how a deal would impact the current team and the culture. We wanted smart money coming in, we didn’t want dumb money.”
Specifically, McClure and the wider business aims to target the lucrative NSW Government market, alongside private sector customers within Sydney and the wider state.
“A partner-led model in NSW represents the right go-to-market for our business,” McClure said. “We’ve partnered with Secure Agility but also Telstra to work with and pursue opportunities outside of our Canberra base.
“We don’t have the feet on the ground in Sydney but Secure Agility now provides that local presence. This means we can deliver enterprise-grade services that supports customers in both NSW and Canberra.
“My team in Canberra will be working remotely with Secure Agility to deliver that end-to-end service to our customers.”
Operating as an ASD Certified Gateway provider, key vendor partnerships include VMware, Microsoft, Dell EMC, HP, Citrix and NetApp.
Such dual ASD certification guarantees the top-level data security of a multi-tenanted solution in a protected government cloud.
“Right now, there’s a gap in the marketplace,” Abouhaidar added. “Why shouldn’t the NSW Government benefit from what Jason and the team at Sliced Tech provide?
“Federal Government has benefited for the last seven years. Jason and his team have a strong presence within security and for us, that represents the missing link to GovDC for our business. This is a core focus of the business and will be a key priority going forward.”
Looking ahead, McClure said his intention to remain as CEO within Sliced Tech centred around a need to continue providing value to employees, customers and stakeholders.
“I feel like I have more to contribute in the business,” he said. “When the company outgrows me, and I’m hoping it does, I want to grow with the business for as long as possible.
“But when it outgrows me, I will accept that my role will be something different. The key part of the deal is that I get to work with David and the other directors to leverage their insights and experience.”