Thursday, July 14, 2011
Interview with Deborah Galea, Red Earth Software
If you had a software firm, what would make you move your headquarters from Silicon Valley to Boulder? Well, Boulder-based Red Earth Software (www.policypatrol.com) did just that about a year ago. We caught up with Deborah Galea, the firm's COO, to hear about the company, what it does, plus its move to Boulder.
First off, can you talk about what your company does?
Deborah Galea: Basically, we are a software development company producing email policy enforcement software for small to medium sized businesses. Our software helps those companies reduce their legal liability, and also the email risks that they run into when using company email. The software also aids companies in complying with the industry regulations concerning email. And example of that are the industry regulations around archiving emails for a certain number of years, also IRS Circular 230, which is a regulation that CPAs and tax lawyers have to follow if they are providing tax advice, which says they must include in their emails a display stating that their advice cannot be used to avoid IRS penalties. So, basically, our software, PolicyPatrol, can have email disclaimers, email signatures--to provide companies with a streamlined business image--plus our software can also block spam and check emails for viruses. We've also recently released a new product, PolicyPatrol Archiver, which can archive emails in a central database, and allows users to search emails from a web interface and restore emails if they need to.
How long has the company been around?
Deborah Galea: It's actually been about ten years now. The first product we introduced was back in 2001, which was an email disclaimer product. At the time, although there was some software that could add email disclaimers, they were expensive. We found lots of people were just looking for an email disclaimer software, which could include some text, a logo, and some formatting, and also could use Active Directory so that the display and signature could be personalized. Our software mainly works with Microsoft Exchange server, mainly companies who are looking to add email security to Microsoft Exchange Server.
You recently moved to Boulder, can you talk about that?
Deborah Galea: We've been here for one year. We were based in Silicon Valley before, but we decided to move because we found it was not giving us realizable benefits that we expected it would. We were there for four years. Obviously, the costs there are high, and we are a small company, which is privately funded. We're not actively pursuing funding, and we decided that for the company, it would be better to move out of Silicon Valley. We very quickly came upon Boulder, because of its reputation as a high tech center. We found information about the very good computer science department, an educated workforce, and it looked like the right place to grow while we were working on the next stage of our product. We also liked it from a personal point of view, for the lifestyle.
Had you been aware of Boulder as a high tech center before?
Deborah Galea: Actually, it's funny. In the news, there had been some articles about Colorado, about the State of Colorado contacting companies like Google, Apple, and others, sending emails to CEOs based in Silicon Valley asking them why no move to Colorado? Obviously, there is a better tax rate, and a number of other advantages. That was actually when Colorado jumped into the picture for us. Boulder quickly jumped to the front as a high tech center, because there was some information about it in articles. I think there was an article in New York Times about technology startups, and reading that information about Boulder we also figured out it a nice place to live, there are mountains nearby, great outdoor activities, and it's a bit more relaxed than Silicon Valley. It is a very nice place to live, but on top of that, it's also a good place for smaller companies. Silicon Valley, obviously, is a good place for tech companies, but for a smaller, privately owned company, you get lost in the great number of IT companies. Whereas, in Boulder, it's slightly smaller, and you can get noticed, and it's easier to stand out.
Did recruiting have much to do with that decision?
Deborah Galea: Yes, especially with recruiting. When you're a small company, and you're up against bigger companies in Silicon Valley, there's almost no chance of getting the best people to join you.
We also understand you've got some operations in Europe?
Deborah Galea: Our main development center is in Europe, though we have plans to expand our development in Boulder. That hooks into the plans we have for the future. Since a lot of small businesses are moving their IT departments into the cloud--and we see that happening quite fast--we plan to introduce new, web-based applications that meet the new requirements of small businesses.