There we were, racing along the internet in 2013. Enjoying all the rewards of participating in the bright, shiny world of technology. Sure, there were a few headlines that gave us pause that someone might be watching or listening or worse, but it was the days of innocence. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long. Article after article, hack after hack, leak after leak shattered the illusions of security and privacy that most of us held. But Mike Fong thought, “This is unacceptable, how can I create a company that will help businesses, governments and individuals take control of when they allow access to their most important and most sensitive information?” And then he set out to do just that. Since those early days we’ve wrestled with the challenges of packing unsurpassed audio, video and location tracking protections into a device that fits seamlessly around a smartphone.
We set the bar high, and poured time and cost into getting there – and beyond. Because of that, our first product will not be for everyone. But, for those who believe as we do, that the information they hold and share, both personally and professionally, should be theirs and theirs alone to give access – and especially those whose lives may depend on controlling that information – we think you’ll find the cost of our rigor worth every penny.
It’s remarkable how a big idea — that has never been achieved — driven by a philosophy rooted in a fundamental right attracts the brightest minds from engineering, industrial design, marketing, sales, IT, business operations — all the way through to our interns, Investors and advisors. Sure, it started out as a traditional search for those most qualified, but we quickly discovered those along the way who were more than people willing to do a job, but kindred spirits who believed in our philosophy. And they told a friend, who knew a guy, who knew a manufacturer and before we knew it we had attracted some of the most accomplished engineers, business leaders and advisors from across the country.
Mike Fong is the Founder and CEO of Privoro. He is an experienced technology executive and entrepreneur who decided to start a company focusing on security and privacy, allowing people to protect their sensitive information, be they businesses, governments or individuals. Smartphones are central to daily life and they can access the most sensitive personal and corporate information. Recognizing that smartphones are becoming ground zero for data collection and increasingly targeted by sophisticated hackers, Mike decided to initially focus Privoro on protecting these important devices.
The realization that smartphones are packed with sensors that can be leveraged or taken over to listen, watch and track users, when many of us have sensitive conversations or meetings while carrying our phone, compelled Mike to create a product that puts people back in control of when they can be tracked and monitored.
Prior to founding Privoro in 2013, Mike founded Calence LLC and took the company from a startup organization to the largest pure-play networking integrator in the United States at the time of its sale, with $300+ million in sales to prestigious corporate and government clients. Prior to its acquisition by Insight Enterprises Inc. Calence was recognized as a leading network consulting firm, a Gartner magic quadrant managed services provider and one of Cisco’s top US partners. Mike has consulted and/or served as a board member for companies across many industries, including chairing the Arizona Governor’s Council on Innovation and Technology. He is a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and was named the Ed Denison Business Leader of the Year for the State of Arizona. Mike started his career at Arthur Andersen Consulting and holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University.
David Husband has served as a CFO and COO for both private and public companies for 20 years. He possesses a wealth of knowledge in process optimization, accounting, financial reporting and corporate finance, including domestic and international merger and acquisition transactions and public and private financing. Prior to his role at Privoro, David served as CFO, Secretary and Treasurer of Calence LLC. David led the process of the company’s acquisition by Insight Enterprises, Inc. in 2008. David also served as CFO of Vodavi Technology, Inc., a leading supplier of small business telephone systems and EVP and COO of Action Performance Companies, Inc., a $400+M consumer products company. He began his career with Arthur Andersen LLP and is a CPA in the state of Arizona. He holds a BS degree, Magna Cum Laude, in Finance and Accounting from Humboldt State University.
Neric Fong is Privoro’s Chief Technology Officer and comes to the team with over 15 years of industrial experience in RF systems and circuit design. Neric spent 6 years at MediaTek Inc. in San Jose, CA growing and scaling products from system definition to mass-production. During his tenure, he was responsible for leading design teams across a broad spectrum of radio design, including 2G/3G/LTE cellular RF chipsets and 802.11ax WiFi RF systems. The RF chipset is widely adopted in the high-volume smartphone market, with over 140 million units shipped per year. He also initiated an ultra-low-power R&D project for wearable and IoT applications, and kick-started the WiFi 802.11ax product development. Prior to MediaTek, Neric served as a design engineer for Marvell Semiconductor, VIA Technologies in the Bay Area and Cognio Inc. in Ottawa, Canada. Neric is the author of 9 patents in the areas of RF/RFIC, amplification, circuits, on-chip gain calibration, and gain asymmetry. He is a co-author of numerous peer-reviewed journals and conference papers, and received best paper awards in IEEE, ISSCC and RFIC symposiums. Neric holds both a PhD and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
Dan Hill comes to Privoro with over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry. In his current position, he has broad responsibility for all IT systems and business operations for the company. Previously Dan served in various roles at SRP, the nation’s 3rd largest public power and water utility company. He directed large enterprise projects including the enterprise work management system for power generation, water and facilities. Dan also headed up IT for Calence (now Insight), a global provider of information technology and services. He was recognized for creating an award-winning business system implementation for Great Plains, an accounting software company that was eventually acquired by Microsoft. Earlier in his career, Dan architected and developed business systems for Nike, Microsoft Xbox and American Express. He holds a BS in Business Management from Arizona State University.
Julie Dexter Berg comes to Privoro with over 30 years of marketing and operations experience spanning the wireless, mobile, internet, broadband and consumer goods and services industries. She is a game-changing team leader with a proven track record of creating brands and customer experiences that deliver superior bottom-line results and real shareholder value. Most recently Julie served as the CMO for Cricket Wireless, a $3B prepaid wireless player that was acquired by AT&T in 2014 for $1.2B. Julie also served as the CMO for SuperValu, a $44B retail grocery company and as CMO for MediaOne (now Comcast) a $5B cable broadband provider. In the mid-1990s Julie was the EVP and GM for AirTouch Cellular’s largest operating division before it was acquired by Verizon. She has served as a consultant and advisor in the areas of marketing, operations and post-merger integration work and is a published author in the business and academic press. Julie spent 10 years in consumer packaged goods with Carnation Company/Nestle Foods after receiving her MBA from the University of Oregon. She also holds a BA in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from Washington State University.
Blake Kotiza is Vice President of Sales with over 18 years of experience providing technology solutions to clients and partners. Over the course of his career, Blake has managed strategic relationships with Fortune 50 clients and led large sales teams producing over $250M in revenue. His experience ranges from providing point products and services to managing large and complex outsourcing solutions. Blake started his career with Calence (now Insight), a global provider of information technology and services, directing inside and outside sales teams handling software, hardware, consulting and managed services. More recently he served as enterprise account manager for Cisco Systems responsible for large corporate clients such as Charles Schwab and US Airways. Blake holds a BS in Communication from Lake Forest College and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.
Matt Shaheen leads the development of Privoro’s channel partnerships around the world. He brings nearly 22 years of experience in B2B account management and advisory work. Matt spent over 18 years at Accenture, a $30B+ global professional services company providing a range of services such as strategy, consulting, technology and operations services. Most recently, Matt was a Managing Director within the communications, media and technology group focusing on electronics and high tech clients. Over the course of his career at Accenture, he held key leadership roles with Microsoft and was the client account lead for Intel, Sunpower, Oracle and Avnet. Matt led large teams responsible for sales & marketing, mobility and supply chain. He developed comprehensive multi-year account plans that delivered over $5M annually. Matt holds a BS in Finance from the University of Arizona.
Haydn Taylor leads all aspects of product design for Privoro. His 20-year career in industrial design has focused on best practices for technical innovation across a diverse portfolio of complex device product development including medical pharmaceutical and surgical devices, life sciences instrumentation and consumer products. Haydn started his career at IDEO, growing to serve in senior roles with some of the world’s top design and engineering firms, most recently as a design expert at Cooper Perkins Inc., an engineering firm specializing in highly integrated, electromechanical systems. His diverse background also includes work in the film, TV and theme park industries as a producer and mechanical special effects designer. Haydn is the author of more than 10 US patents along with a number of international patents and design registrations. He holds a BA in Industrial Design (with engineering) from The University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, UK.
Ted Thomas is Privoro’s senior engineering executive and is a key member of Privoro’s product strategy team. Prior to Privoro, Ted drove major product and business initiatives at Texas Instruments for nearly two decades. During his tenure with TI, Ted led teams across a broad range of technologies, including signal conditioning and audio and power products. Under his leadership, the company delivered several first-to-market products such as the first integrated Class-D amplifiers for computer, handset and other low-power consumer applications. He and his team also developed TI’s first LED Light Bulb reference design. Ted is the author of 7 patents in efficient power conversion, data acquisition and audio amplifier systems. He holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude, from West Virginia University.
Brian Marlier comes to Privoro’s advisory board with 35 years of enterprise sales experience. Most recently Brian was Senior Vice President of Global Architectures and Enterprise Transformation for Cisco Systems and led the Cisco team responsible for selling complex technical transformations to large customers across the globe. Before assuming this role, Brian served as Cisco’s Senior Vice President of U.S. Enterprise sales, where he was responsible for sales of Cisco technology and services to 560 of the company’s largest customers in the United States. Brian also held leadership positions at Nortel, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM. He holds a BA in Business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jason Lish brings a wealth of experience in security technology and engineering to Privoro’s advisory board. Jason is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer for Alight Solutions where he oversees all physical and cyber security initiatives. Before assuming this role, Jason served as Senior Vice President of Security Technology and Operations for Charles Schwab, where he provided leadership to strengthen Schwab’s security posture and enhance the protection of Schwab’s critical assets. Prior to Charles Schwab, Jason was Senior Director of Cyber Security Operations at Honeywell International. Jason began his career in the U.S. Air Force where he administered large networks and cryptographic systems. He also serves as a governing body member for the Evanta CISO Phoenix chapter, sits on several security advisory councils, and speaks regularly at industry events. Jason holds an MIS in Information Technology from Bellevue University and an MBA from Ottawa University.