FlowTraq CEO has his eye on ManchesterBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent
April 20. 2014 11:17PM
LEBANON — Netherlands-born tech startup CEO Vincent Berk says there is no other place than the Upper Valley region where he would like to operate his company, but sees opening up a second office in the Manchester area as inevitable.
FlowTraq provides software and services for high-performance network monitoring, analytics, security and forensics, and detects a range of network behaviors, including distributed denial of service, brute force attacks, botnets, worms, network scans and other network traffic anomalies.
“Overall I feel that the quality personnel that we need here in New Hampshire to be a real tech state is readily available, and it’s not hard to convince people to come here,” Berk said.
The Manchester area, though, is often where Berk has found the marketing, sales and business talent his company also needs, so he sees opening an office in the Manchester area as part of his company’s future, he said.
The small network security company is rapidly growing, he said, in fields including large networks run by Internet giants like eBay and small networks run by small businesses and school districts.
Anytime you have a network there is the potential for hackers. Over the years hackers have changed how they maneuver online in an effort to hide themselves, so the ways of finding and removing hackers is constantly changing, Berk said.
“We used to look for hackers by looking for specific markers,” Berk said. “But hackers have gotten good at hiding themselves.”
The network security industry is a $65 billion a year industry, Berk said.
The software FlowTraq develops helps detects these online threats. Since these solutions can be expensive for small network runners like small businesses or school districts, the company now offers a service small networks can use for a small monthly fee, Berk said.
Berk grew up in the Netherlands in dense urban areas, so he loves the lifestyle and ready access to the outdoors that living in the Upper Valley region affords him. Because of this he is committed to expanding and developing the local tech business community, he said.
Earlier this year FlowTraq partnered with Nashua-based tech firm ConverterTechnology to expand the company’s network security offerings to local customers as well as those nationwide.
To encourage young talent FlowTraq sponsored the Manchester Memorial High School FIRST Robotics Team 238 this year.
It was great to sponsor a FIRST Robotics team, especially since several of FlowTraq employees once competed in the FIRST Robotics competition, he said. And though many of his employees wanted to jump in and build a robot themselves, because of competition rules, “All we could do was help them buy components and cheer and share thoughts and ideas,” Berk said.FlowTraq has only been operating commercially for two years, but was started 10 years ago at Dartmouth College where Berk was a professor. FlowTraq started in 2004 as Process Query Systems LLC by Dartmouth College Thayer School of Engineering professors Berk, who has a Ph.D. in computer science, and George Cybenko, who has a Ph.D. in mathematics. Initial funding came from government research and development contract awards for Internet security projects with Ball Aerospace, NSA, Northrop Grumman Corp. and others.