Fortinet co-founding brothers join the billion dollar club

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Cybersecurity has unlocked riches for Ken and Michael Xie, as the Chinese-born brothers are now billionaires from their stakes in Fortinet, the Silicon Valley-based network security software firm they co-founded almost two decades ago.

Spurred by high-profile data breaches and malware attacks, cybersecurity has become a growing priority for companies.

Cloud-focused firms including Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks have benefited as businesses update their computer infrastructures, posing a threat to more established network software providers such as Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks.

Fortinet counts most Fortune 500 companies as its customers, according to its website.

Fortinet is outpacing that, with 2018 revenue increasing 20% to $1.8 billion from a year earlier.

The firm’s shares closed at $81.22 on Wednesday, more than six times its 2009 public offering price. They dipped on Thursday after fourth-quarter adjusted profit missed analysts’ estimates.

“We are excited about significant opportunity ahead,” Ken Xie, 56, who’s chief executive officer, said on a call Wednesday after Fortinet reported results. He predicted continued growth in 2019, but added “you need to keep up the innovation.”

A spokeswoman for Sunnyvale, California-based Fortinet declined to comment on the brothers’ net worths.

Among other cyber-security companies, Check Point Software Technologies.

CEO Gil Shwed has a $2.9 billion stake and Palo Alto Networks co-founder Nir Zuk’s shares are worth almost $300 million.

“It’s a space that keeps changing and growing fast, keeping me learning every day,” Ken Xie said in an interview last year.

“And that I like.”



Source: Smart Trend Team