The former CEO of under fire threat intelligence vendor Norse has hit back at criticism of the company and his tenure in charge, blaming misrepresentation in the media and a disgruntled former employee as the reason for the firm’s current woes.
Sam Glines, who also co-founded the firm, was fired as first reported by Brian Krebs last weekend just a few weeks after a third of Norse staff were also let go.
That Krebs article claimed the firm’s founders were responsible for “a pattern of failed businesses, reverse mergers, shell companies and product promises that missed the mark by miles.”
He alleged that Norse itself was born of several businesses that “appear to have been launched and then acquired by shell companies owned by Norse’s top executives.”
He quoted former senior data scientist Mary Landesman as claiming the firm may be a “scam” designed to “suck in new investors” without offering any real RoI in the form of actionable threat intelligence.
But in a lengthy statement sent to Infosecurity, Glines pointed to inaccuracies in the report.
“I was never an owner of a shell company, and wouldn’t know the first thing about setting one up,” he argued. “Second, I was not a founder of any of the companies mentioned, aside from Norse.”
Glines claimed the company counted major enterprises, governments, and defense intelligence agencies as clients, all of whom extracted “incredible value” from its technology and people.
“Institutional investors conducted deep due diligence on the technology before deciding to invest,” he added.
Glines also hit out at the report and an unnamed “disgruntled employee” – thought to be Landesman – claiming they had damaged the reputation of Norse.
“Prior to this article, however, significant deals were being closed and other strategic discussions underway. But as soon as this article/blog was posted, everything quickly began to fall apart. Deals were terminated or paused,” he argued.
“And all this based on what everyone was reading in black and white from one of the most trusted names in security/tech reporting.”
However, Glines did accept responsibility for the January lay-offs.
“Norse was in the latter half of 2015 running at an aggressive monthly burn to put out ground breaking product and capabilities. Unfortunately, we were building ahead of very near-term revenue,” he explained.
“This, coupled with lesser than expected sales in 2H 2015, and the delay in our planned Series B financing led to the perfect financial storm that drove the need to cut back our workforce. And I take full responsibility for these mistakes.”
It’s not clear what will now become of the company, although it’s believed that board member Howard Bain is interim CEO.