Ashar Aziz Becomes the First Pakistani-American Tech Billionaire
By Riaz Haq
Silicon Valley has minted the first Pakistani-American billionaire with an incredible 377% surge in the price of Fireeye shares since its IPO last year.
The advanced computer security software company , founded by Ashar Aziz, priced its initial public offering of 15.2 million shares at $20 per share in September, raising about $304 million after increasing its expected price range to $15 to $17 per share.
Aziz owns about 10.91 million shares in the Milipitas, Calif.-based security company; that 9.3% stake on the close of the first day of trading in September was worth more than $392 million.
Here are some of the reasons for the huge spike as described by Business Insider :
1. The company's flagship product solves a really hard computer security problem. It is able to stop hack attacks that were previously almost impossible to stop.
2. FireEye bought another security firm, Mandiant, for $1 billion. Mandiant was famous for uncovering links between Chinese hackers and attacks on US companies.
3. With Mandiant, FireEye launched a cloud computing security service that competes with SourceFire. SourceFire is the company Cisco bought last summer for $2.7 billion.
4. The company beat expectations on its fourth quarter with revenue of $57.3 million, a beat by $1.26 million, and EPS of $-0.35, a beat by $0.03.
5. Some Wall Street analysts have been really gung-ho on the company. Wells Fargo started tracking it a month ago, saying it was "a once in a decade opportunity to invest in a truly disruptive technology."
The world has dramatically changed since the 1990s when Wintel ruled the roost. PC is no longer the dominant device. Smartphones and tablets have brought the era of mobile cloud computing where neither Intel nor Microsoft enjoy leadership position. Even developing countries like Pakistan are deploying cloud computing applications .
A Google-sponsored survey in Pakistan found that mobile computing is expected to overtake desktop computing this year. Several new and more innovative and powerful players have emerged in this market.
As more and more enterprises embrace cloud-based computing, cloud security is becoming a hot area for many entrepreneurs. This shift means over $2 billion annual market for cloud security vendors like Fireeye and Elastica. Researchers at Gartner forecast the highest growth to occur in cloud-based tokenisation and encryption, security information and event management (SIEM), vulnerability assessment and web application firewalls.
Recently, a Silicon Valley start-up Ealstica was launched by Rehan Jalil , a Pakistani-American alumnus of NED University of Engineering, Karachi, Pakistan. Elastica received $6.3 million funding from Mayfield Ventures, a premier Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm.
Several analysts have recently upgraded Fireeye to buy with the target price above $100.