eEye Digital Security founder Marc Maiffret has left the company and plans to launch a new venture, developing next-generation mobile phone software for the corporate world.
A noted hacker, Maiffret co-founded eEye in the late 1990s with Firas Bushnaq and had served as the company's CTO, overseeing a staff of about 30 engineers. Bushnaq stepped down as CEO in 2006, and Maiffret said that he'd started thinking about leaving to pursue other startup ideas earlier this year. "I'd been doing it a long time," he said Wednesday. "I started the company when I was 17 and had been doing it the last 10 years."
The 70-person company, based in Aliso Viejo, California, has been going through some bumpy times lately. Bushnaq's replacement, Ross Brown, was fired earlier this year, and eEye also recently shut down its Orange County sales offices.
Maiffret said that this had nothing to do with his departure and that he's leaving eEye in good shape, however. "Today, it's pretty much an engine that's been running itself," he said. He stopped working for eEye in September but didn't announce his departure until this week. eEye representatives could not be reached immediately for comment, but Maiffret said that the company has not yet found a replacement CTO.
He will be doing some consulting work and developing the new software for Windows- and Blackberry-powered mobile phones, which he expects to unveil in the first quarter of next year. "Everybody has these miniature computers in their pockets, but nobody is doing anything interesting with them," he said.
Although the new product will not be security-related, Maiffret said he expects to remain involved in the security research community, where he also plans to do consulting work as a self-described "CTO for hire."
"I'll probably be more involved in [security research] now," he said, "because being CTO of eEye didn't leave me with a lot of personal time to do hands-on research."