MANCHESTER — Former Dyn executive Jeremy Hitchcock wants to help police the internet.
Not to regulate content but to protect homes from hackers.
“We’re hoping to make all that stuff go away,” Hitchcock said in an interview last week.
His Manchester company, Minim, works with internet service providers to make WiFi service safe. Minim offers a cloud-based platform that includes a mobile app service to manage WiFi networks inside people’s homes.
“The general premise is you’re buying lots of devices and you’re trying to get them all to work at home and they need to connect and they need to be secure, so they don’t funnel off information to the bad places,” said Hitchcock, who previously served as CEO and co-founder of Dyn, an internet performance company.
Minim will announce Monday that it has acquired MCP Networks, creators of Aerez, a leading managed WiFi solution built for wireless internet service providers.
“They were doing basically Minim inside of the internet service provider space for wireless providers, fixed-line wireless, more rural types of point-to-point connections,” Hitchcock said. “The teams fell in love with each other, and we were able to get them to join Minim.”
Minim brought in five people from the North Dakota company to raise the employee count to a couple dozen at Minim.
Fewer than half work out of its Elm Street Manchester headquarters. Employees are spread over New York, Texas, Utah, North Dakota, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia and Colorado.
“One of the things that we’re doing a bit different with this team and this company is we’re a pretty remote group of people,” Hitchcock said.
But there is a method to the madness.
“One of the things is that because we partner with service providers, understanding local customs is really important,” he said of the geographic diversity.
Former Aerez CEO Candice Perea said her company had an extreme focus on the needs of wireless internet service providers
“Now part of the Minim team, we will be able to expand hardware choices for our customers, offer cutting-edge IoT (Internet of Things) fingerprinting and security, develop features faster and better serve more operators,” Perea said in a statement.
Hitchcock said Minim is in 100,000 homes within the footprint of 50 internet service providers. He wasn’t ready to predict how fast that will grow.
“We’ve really only been out in the market for six months now,” he said. “We’re looking to see what the market appetite is and also where we fit in.”
Service providers are “using tools like Minim to enhance the service quality and the customer experience that they can deliver,” he said. “I think one of the reasons is they think they can probably charge more for a service that is more valuable, and they’ve also really been under a lot of pressure of video going all internet.”
Hitchcock said he’s “explored some kind of direct to consumer offering” but service providers want to bundle it with their other services.
A few years back, hackers hitting Dyn crippled the company and prompted Hitchcock to start Minim a couple months later.
“The internet didn’t work very well on October 21 of 2016,” he said. “Remember that day very well.”
A botnet attack — which affected such heavyweights as Amazon, Twitter and Spotify — was able to cripple major internet sites by targeting unsecured smart devices in households, such as Wi-Fi-based routers and home thermostat systems that consumers didn’t bother to secure with passwords.
“Really that was a result of a couple of Minecraft players that were fighting over who had the most popular Minecraft server,” he said. “They kept attacking each other. Things got out of hand.”
“That was really the inspiration for starting the company a couple months later,” he said.
He declined to disclose the purchase price for MCP Networks.
Minim has had one round of outside financing, $2.5 million, announced last April, he said.
Asked when the company expects to turn an operating profit, Hitchcock said: “No clue, but again we like customer funding as the mechanism in which we fund the business.”