STARTUP SPOTLIGHT 

Austin-based startup protects info at U.S. military facilities 

Posted September 25th, 2017

In 2006, Brendan Mullen left the U.S. Army after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning to his home in Washington, D.C., to begin a new career, he still wanted to help the military in some way.

After working at a cybersecurity company in Washington, Mullen in 2008 launched MKS2 Technologies, which provids cybersecurity and other IT consultancy services to U.S. Military organizations and, after moving to Austin 17 months ago, is now ranked as the fastest growing private company in the city by entrepreneur publication Inc. 5000.

“If you want to pull a thread through the entire theme of the business, it is continuing to serve. It is giving back,” said Mullen, 39. “It’s providing veteran spouses and family members, as well as those war fighters, an opportunity from our services that won't touch them in a war-like environment, but the services we’re doing sets them up to be in a safer environment.”

MKS2 stands for Mission, Knowledge, Strategies and Solutions.

The company’s main clients are the U.S. Army, Department of Veteran Affairs and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the government agency that administers civilian foreign aid. Mullen said MKS2 now operates in about 21 states and 31 VA hospitals protecting information of patients and helping with other cybersecurity efforts, IT support, software development and online training. 

The company grew by more than 4,000 percent in revenue from 2013 to 2016, according to Mullen, and it has about 60 employees. It had a 2016 revenue of $4.7 million, with revenue projections for this year being $5.3 million. 

Mullen says his company has experienced success because beyond effective IT guidance, he trains MKS2 employees to focus on the customers’ needs.

“My employees feel strongly that they are continuing to serve the country in a professional service manner,” Mullen said.

MKS2MKS2 CEO Brendan Mullen. 
What they do: 

MKS2 provides cybersecurity and IT services to the U.S. Army, Department of Veteran Affairs and USAID, among other military organizations. 

The company works as an independent consultancy agency that is contracted by U.S. government agencies.

Cybersecurity can include protection of clients’ data and technical support for clients’ databases. 

Who they are: 

CEO Brendan Mullen is a U.S. Army veteran who served for five years, which included a one-year service tour in Iraq. 

After beginning MKS2 in Washington D.C., Mullen moved the company to Austin because his wife, who also works in the technology industry, was hired at a firm here. 

Mullen also unsuccessfully ran as a Democratic candidate for a 2012 congressional seat in Indiana. His company now employs about 60 people nationwide.

Investment: 

Mullen said he initially invested $250 to begin the company in 2008. The company has not yet received external funding, but Mullen reports it has grown to generate $4.7 million in revenue in 2016 and said MKS2 is profitable. 

Biggest challenge: 

Because Mullen reports his company is profitable and has no debt, he said he is uncertain about how much monetary risk to take in the future.

He also said he believes there is potential to begin servicing local government agencies in Texas and thinks he needs to tap more into the veteran community in the state, which is one of the largest in the country. 

“I am the bottleneck of this company,” Mullen said. “So, it’s me having to figure out my risk tolerance.

“Right now, I look at my business as we are moving into the ‘build’ phase as we continue to scale up.”

 

 

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