TAMPA — San Francisco-based cybersecurity firm OPSWAT is moving its headquarters to Tampa.
The 19-year-old company is the latest addition to the region’s cybersecurity sector, building on a trend that has ramped up in recent years.
“My attempt here is to build something to last,” said Benny Czarny, CEO of OPSWAT.
The international company focuses on critical infrastructure security, a broad category that often includes 16 sectors recognized by the federal government such as energy and manufacturing.
Czarny said the company’s East Coast expansion was in the works since at least 2019, but it set its sights on Tampa in just the last six months. Its 2019 acquisition of Tampa-based cybersecurity firm Impulse was one of the factors that went into choosing a location. Another was how receptive the local government and business community was toward the company.
“Hands down, I rank them No. 1 by any of our locations we’ve been working with,” Czarny said.
In a release, Tampa mayor Jane Castor said the company’s move is “proof that Tampa’s momentum for attracting exciting new companies remains strong.”
Its move builds on the growing cybersecurity and technology sector in Tampa Bay. The bay area is home to several large cybersecurity companies, such as ReliaQuest, KnowBe4 and A-LIGN.
“This is a natural result of 20-plus years of small security-focused companies building and growing and capturing more marketshare and greater market value,” said Fritz Eichelberger, CEO of staffing firm HotSpaces.
Much of the focus in Florida in recent years has been on establishing a pipeline of workers. The University of South Florida’s Cyber Florida center was created in 2014 with the mission of making Florida a destination for cybersecurity. Its focus is largely on building out education programs and partnering with the business sector.
“Outside markets are recognizing that the Tampa Bay area is rich with highly skilled talent,” Eichelberger said.
OPSWAT’s Tampa office will focus on its East Coast clients, as well as its clients across Europe. The company, Czarny said, has not received any government incentives for its relocation.
Over the next three years, OPSWAT will hire for 100 positions, 30 of which will be filled this year. The positions span a variety of departments including sales, customer support, marketing, software engineering and product management.
OPSWAT currently has about 30 employees working in the Tampa office building it acquired when it purchased Impulse and 350 employees total across its 10 offices around the world.
Czarny said that Florida’s critical infrastructure is adequate in some areas, but could be improved in others. One missing piece, he said, is regulation for critical infrastructure sectors that aren’t federally regulated.
“If everything would be great, there would be no reason to build something (here),” he said.