After spending five years overseas, LAN Systems founder Scott Frew is back in the channel and has taken a 75 percent stake in security distributor Firewall Systems.
Frew bought out Firewall co-founder Gary Thomas and is now setting up a new Sydney head office for Firewall in Lane Cove.
He has also hired former LAN Systems and Ingram staffer Michael Fisher who has taken on the role of Victorian state manager.
The company also planned to open a Brisbane office within the next 12 months.
Frew said Firewall -- the largest Watchguard distributor in Australia –- had also recently signed Network Box. He said Firewall was going "gangbusters" and had no external debt.
He told CRN he intended to grab some funding to grow the business. "That's not a hard thing to do -- it's making sure we get the right resellers," he said. Frew likened Firewall Systems' current business to what "LAN Systems was 12 years ago".
Over the next 12 months, Frew would develop a web service that would help resellers manage the security products they've got in the field.
"We'll put in a web server to alerts resellers about [customer] renewals," he said.
Frew sold his shares in LAN Systems in April 2000 and jetted over to Europe looking for distribution opportunities. At the time, he was replaced by chief marketing and strategic development officer Nick Verykios who in May, quit his post. Verykios was replaced by LAN's former sales and marketing director Wendy O'Keeffe.
John Labza, executive technical director and co-founder of Firewall Systems, said he'd known Scott for 15 years and had first worked with him, alongside Gary Thomas at Micro Networks, a Australian network distributor that was purchased by NetComm in 1990.
Labza was pleased that Frew was on board saying it was a "fantastic opportunity" for Firewall to grow north. "It going to be a good ride," he said.
Labza said the company "can't be too dependent on one income source".
Firewall also planned to add some "physical" security products to its portfolio soon, Labza said.
Watchguard director of sales Sven Radavics, said he was excited about Frew's investment in the distributor. "Firewall has always had a strong technical [capability] and Scott brings a level of entrepreneurship and capital which can only be good for Firewall Systems and that can only be good for Watchguard," he said.