Bullzi has new name, leadership, technology acquisition

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

LAKE MARY, Fla.--Bullzi Security, the "converged" security integrator formerly known as 21st Century Corp., announced April 18 the acquisition of Creative Forecast, an international graphic design firm headquartered in Longwood, Fla., that specializes in Flash animation, 3-D rendering and simulation technologies. Terms of the deal were not released, but Bullzi will add 25 Creative Forecast employees along with its technology, nearly tripling its workforce.
Earlier this year, 21st Century changed its name to Bullzi (pronounced "bull's eye") Security and hired new international president Jim Kootnekoff, who'll be headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Kootnekoff comes directly from Japan, where he founded IT security firm Secured Infrastructure Design Corporation, known as SIDC, and will take over sales leadership of Canada and the Asia-Pacific region, while providing operational support in the western United States.
Kootnekoff brings more IT security knowledge to Bullzi, which touts itself as a one-stop shop for both IT and physical security. "If you look at our leadership's background," said Kootnekoff, "they're certified in every aspect of security ... We're involved with compliance programs, information security services, physical security solutions, education programs, document security--we've got the whole gamut covered, if you will." The company has an eLearning focus, giving clients the power to understand what exactly they need for security.
Thomas Welch, Bullzi founder and chief executive officer, said it's the education programs where Creative Forecast's skills will be applied. "What's happening today," he said, "is that broadband capability is allowing you to deliver a lot more out to the end user in terms of education platforms that are more interactive and enhance the learning experience." For instance, as part of its services to end users, Bullzi might provide interactive educational programs for all of a company's employees, educating them about everything from phishing attacks to propping doors to escorting guests into the building.
"Some things are common sense, other things are more difficult to understand," said Welch. "Our programs are almost like entertainment. We make it intriguing and engaging for the end user, and the ultimate goal is to modify behavior."
Welch said IT security education is much more in demand.
Currently, Bullzi does all the IT security installation and contracts out the physical security installation. "We draw up the plans, identify the needs, then outsource the installation," Kootnekoff said. "We're paid for our brains, not our brawn."
He said a lot of customers, which include Sun Life and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, are asking Bullzi to tie their IT and physical security systems together, to track how and why people are entering and exiting both the building and the network. "The two are equally important," he said. "One person can walk out of the building with the corporation's crown jewels on a portable hard drive."
Bullzi's niche, said Kootnekoff is in bringing IT and physical security vendors together. "They are aware of each other," he said, "but they're cautious. They want to sell their goods, whether it's really the ideal solution for the client or not. They don't work well together. We identify what the client's needs are, not what the manufacturers' needs are."
His client-focused market approach comes from his time in Japan, Kootnekoff said. "It's a really quirky nation," he said, "a really service-oriented country ... If you open up a business and you're anything less than the best, you'll be out of business in weeks or months. The first time I went, I brought the North American mindset, where if you screw up, you make an excuse, you blame someone, but there they just don't accept that ... They're merciless. If you screw up, you're never doing business with them again ... That's forced me to focus on the infinite detail of the client."
Currently, Bullzi has 12 employees and has goals for $2.5 million in 2007 revenue. However, said Kootnekoff, Bullzi will be looking to acquire this year and has hired a new chief financial officer, John Dambrauskas, to head up those efforts.
Welch said Bullzi is looking for physical and IT security integrators to help with geographic reach and market penetration into different verticals.