MANCHESTER — The Dyn sign atop a Millyard building is long gone, replaced by that of a tech giant whose investment in Manchester appears to be waning.
But the DNA that attracted Oracle to acquire the Queen City company remains — spread out as Dyn veterans join other tech companies or create new ones.
Some of them have joined Dyn founder Jeremy Hitchcock in his latest venture.
It appears Oracle + Dyn leads to Minim.
Hitchcock has recruited members of his former executive team to help grow Minim, a 30-employee startup that has developed a cloud-based WiFi and internet-of-things security platform for “smart” homes. They include former Dyn chief operating officer Gray Chynoweth, who recently joined Minim as chief executive officer.
Chynoweth, an early investor in Minim, most recently was working with Dean Kamen’s Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute. But other Dyn veterans became available when Oracle began laying off its Manchester workforce in waves earlier this year. Oracle + Dyn’s 150 Dow St. landlord is marketing 100,000 square feet of space there for a new tenant.
Hitchcock, who co-founded Dyn in 2003, served as its CEO until May 2016, several months before Oracle acquired the company.
“We hoped people who cut their teeth at Dyn would start new companies,” Hitchcock said Wednesday at Minim’s headquarters on Elm Street. “You can see that happening all over the place. I think we have one of the biggest concentrations here at Minim, but you can see it at other companies.”
Other former Dyn executives who joined Minim include Andy Piggott, senior vice president of customer success; John D’Amato, vice president of business development; company co-founder Elizabeth Hitchcock; and engineers Sarah Bennert and Christopher Flynn.
Oracle acquired Dyn in late 2016 for a reported $600 million. Dyn, an internet performance company, had amassed such name-brand clients as Amazon, Spotify and Netflix as customers. The company employed as many as 400 people a year ago.
Hitchcock’s inspiration to found Minim came from one of Dyn’s most difficult episodes. In October 2016, a massive distributed denial-of-service attack — originating from millions of internet protocol addresses from malware-infected devices — knocked out user access to Dyn’s customers.
Minim aims to address such vulnerability in the internet-of-things networks that consumers are using at home. That includes thermostats, home security systems and Peloton exercise bikes.
“Today’s home has a network that’s as sophisticated and complicated as a medium-sized business was 10 years ago,” Chynoweth said. “And yet the tools that are designed to support that really are no better than they were 10 years ago.”
Minim recently launched an integration with Motorola hardware and is partnering with Zoom Telephonics. Its cloud platform has been extended to more than a dozen hardware models. As of late 2018, the company had $2.5 million of investment capital.
At Dyn, the mission was to help internet companies make their websites work better. At Minim, the goal is to create a secure foundation for the internet services and products that operate on home networks, Chynoweth said.
“Because no matter how good your Peloton bike is, no matter how good your Roku box is, no matter how good your streaming device is to Netflix, if you don’t have WiFi that’s working, if you don’t have confidence that someone’s not basically breaking into your home through your digital network, then none of that stuff is going to work,” he said.
Minim’s primary customers are internet service providers. More than half of its workforce is scattered around the country, working remotely from New York City, Colorado, Utah and other locales. Proximity to customers is part of the reason driving that decision. The other is talent.
“As we all know, New Hampshire is a very low unemployment environment so everyone has opportunities. How do you find those right people? I think it’s an interesting balance,” Chynoweth said. “I don’t think every company is going to experiment with it. I think we’re going to experiment more with it this time than we did last time at Dyn.”
Hitchcock is gradually accepting the model.
“I’ve let the team know this as well: It’s taking me longer to adapt to a more distributed environment. But we’ll all get there together,” he said. “Just being able to draw on different pools of talent regardless of where they are, I think, is the biggest reason why companies are starting to embrace it.”