Security startup Lookout will add Boston office after naming local exec CEO

Lookout chief executive Jim Dolce.
Lookout chief executive Jim Dolce.

Interesting string of events for Lookout, a San Francisco startup that focuses on security for mobile devices…

In March, the company named former Verivue and Akamai executive Jim Dolce as CEO. Last week, the company added $150 million in new funding. And in October, the company plans to open its first U.S. office outside of the Bay Area, in downtown Boston.

Dolce tells me he’s finalizing a lease on State Street near Government Center, and that he hopes to fill the new digs with about 25 employees by the end of 2014 — both engineers and sales and marketing staffers.

EN-dashboard-apps-EOKDolce says the new outpost isn’t about him wanting to run the company from Massachusetts rather than California. “Our headquarters are in San Francisco, and I will spend the majority of my time here,” Dolce says. But in addition to a relatively new condo in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, he hasn’t sold his place in the Back Bay, so it won’t be unusual to spot him in Lookout’s new office downtown.

The hiring environment in San Francisco is “frenzied and competitive,” Dolce says. “Geographically, the city is almost the same size as Boston is, but we have this very high density of tech companies — Airbnb, Pinterest, and so on — so the demand for people far outstrips the supply.” Dolce adds that “when you’re looking for talent with ten-plus years of experience, the supply problem gets even worse.” In Boston, Dolce says, that more experienced talent is easier to come by. (Especially for someone with an extensive network in Boston enterprise tech circles…)

Dolce says that Ping Li of the venture firm Accel Partners initially connected him with the opportunity at Lookout; Li had been an investor at Verivue, a startup that built content delivery infrastructure and was bought by Akamai in an all-cash deal in 2012. (The price tag wasn’t disclosed.) Dolce joined Lookout this past March.

With the $150 million in new funding at Lookout, Dolce says the company, which has historically focused on helping consumers secure the data on their handsets or tablets, will now “look to extend our reach into large enterprises,” where many employees have smartphones that they use for work purposes. “That exposes them and the company to the risks of malware and cybercrime,” he says. Lookout also provides cloud backup services, and can help find lost devices.

Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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