While he was in high school in
The Polish-born Kleczynski -- pronounced kla-CHIN-ski -- recently talked about how he started his business at such a young age in an interview that was edited for length and clarity.
Q: What happened when you were 14 with the virus you got on your parents' PC?
A: We shared a computer and I think I was downloading some pirated game at the time. I executed a file and boom, there it was, the infection. My parents had some kind of anti-virus installed, so I went, "That's not supposed to happen." I didn't have
Q: That prompted you as a high-school freshman to learn how to write software to combat malware?
A: Yeah. Just somebody helping me with a problem like that, it blew my mind. There are good people out there who, if you post a question online, will help you fix your computer for free. I decided to stick around this community and become a volunteer. I went from a person being helped to a person helping others. I bought a "Visual Basic for Dummies" book from the 1990s and I started learning how to program.
Q: Going to the
A: When the product came out in January of 2008, all of these volunteers ended up buying it. We made
Q: Did your parents give you any financial help to get into the cybersecurity business?
A: No. Zero. Not a dollar. Until last year, my mom was still like, "Oh, it's a cool school project." I mean my mom is extremely proud now, but I don't think the reality set in until about last year when we were turning over
Q: Malwarebytes just got a
A: That cash is going to be used for building out our sales team, building out our engineering team. The exit strategy is not so clear. I hired a chief financial officer who has IPO experience if we wanted to go public. That's something we have open. I've gone through acquisition talks with several big anti-virus companies and none of them seemed exciting to me. I want to do what's best for the shareholders, which is the employees here, the people who have gotten us to where we are right now. When we raised this
Job: CEO of Malwarebytes
Education: Bachelor's degree in computer science,
Residence: Palo Alto
Five things about
1. As a child, he yearned to be a train conductor, but later switched his ambition to becoming a pilot and spent considerable time playing a flight-simulator game.
2. In 2011, he got his pilot's license and is taking additional training to bolster his flight skills.
3. He only recently stopped commuting to the
4. Before starting Malwarebytes, his only other job was working part time at an
5. Although he came to the U.S. from
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