“We recognize a strong need for online security in the business community, so we are always developing and advancing the next generation OpenVPN platforms.”
Francis Dinha – The Maker of His Own Destiny
As a young boy living in Iraq, the childhood memory of Francis Dinha was of his family escaping a destructive bombing of their home in Northern Iraq, which forced them to flee to Baghdad. In a new city and no home, Dinha and his family faced many hardships. With no money to feed the family, Dinha took it upon himself to find a solution, and in turn encountered his first brush with entrepreneurship. He took what little money his mother had and bought a pack of cigarettes. He headed through the rough streets of Baghdad, boldly walking up to strangers and sold the cigarettes - one by one for a profit - until there was enough money for his family to eat at night.
As a minority Christian of Assyrian descent, families like Dinha’s had to be especially careful not to speak out against tyranny. Ongoing violence was the norm, and when someone would muster up enough courage to take on their dictator, Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi people would be forced to the city center to watch public hangings of those who dared to challenge the government.
“Even when I was young, I knew the meaning of fear and poverty. I knew there was something better for me out there,” says Dinha.
In the late 1970’s, Dinha managed to escape the regime and moved to Sweden where he earned his degree of Masters of Science in Computer Engineering. He was soon offered a job in Dallas, Texas with Ericsson and he spent the next several decades working in the tech industry.
In the late 90’s, Dinha was presented with an opportunity by the U.S. State Department to return to Iraq to help build a communications infrastructure that would allow the Iraqi people have access to communication through phone lines, and even the Internet. But, during his time in Iraq, Dinha’s vehicle was targeted and his driver was shot. After that horrific incident, Dinha returned to America where he focused on advancing the technology infrastructure in the U.S.
The Inception of OpenVPN
Dinha’s time spent in Iraq and the U.S. advancing the technology infrastructure was a turning point in his life. He realized that with the explosion of communication technology, the everyday citizen was not ready for the security challenges it would bring. For one, the speed at which this technology is expanding has failed to take into account the importance of safety. Second, with the emergence and expansion of Internet cafes, wifi hotspots and free internet at every restaurant, hotel and Starbucks, users are putting themselves at risk - one they think might not be relevant to them. Every time someone logs onto the Internet with an unsecure connection, they are exposing their personal information to a world filled with cybercriminals. An innocent trip to buy a cappuccino can quickly turn into a malicious encounter with a hacker sitting nearby, snooping on exactly what you’re doing on your computer.
“I still think people don’t understand just how dangerous it is – and the only explanation I can come up with is they have a mentality that ‘It can’t happen to me. Sadly, it does every day, to individuals and even major corporations and even the government,” says Dinha.
And to solve the pain-point, Dinha came up with an idea to create a way to mask a computer’s IP address making it invisible to crooks and founded OpenVPN in 2005, which is considered the de-facto standard software for those who want to surf the Internet safely.
By utilizing a free, open source model, OpenVPN was able to grow its web traffic organically and rapidly. Following the success of the OpenVPN Project, Dinha with his comrade, James Yonan, co-founded OpenVPN Technologies, Inc. to secure a solid foundation for OpenVPN and further develop its commercial potential.
Today, OpenVPN Technologies is one of the leading providers of next-generation secure and scalable communication services in the industry. Enterprises of every size use OpenVPN to provide private and secure access for their employees in order to keep their networks and sales in motion safely, without disrupting their limited resources and workflow.
Employees Driving the Growth
Building a successful business is about having a committed staff who is inspired by your vision. By employing a determined and competent team distributed across the globe, OpenVPN Technologies has witnessed tremendous growth over the years. Providing the autonomy to its employees, the company believes that the freedom of flexibility allows employees to be more creative.
“At OpenVPN, we believe in teamwork and communicating openly with each other to solve problems. We’ve been able to grow our company incrementally, taking zero dollars from venture capitalists,” says Dinha.
Crafting the Future Roadmap
Cloud security is one of the biggest challenges the industry is facing today. In order to make the cloud more secure, OpenVPN is developing its next-generation OpenVPN Cloud platform called Private Tunnel. This new platform will enable any business to exchange data across the ubiquitous Public Internet securely and privately. Businesses will have the ability to share their network and application resources with employees, vendors, and customers.
Looking into the future, the company believes that it will flourish through a developed roadmap and great team that will better serve the industry with state of the art security solutions.
The Man with Incredible Staying Power
Francis Dinha, Co-Founder & CEO: Dinha has been the master key in orchestrating growth at OpenVPN Technologies, by building a viable business model to assure the Company's continued success.
Before he founded OpenVPN Technologies, Inc., he was the CEO at Iraq Development and Investment projects where he played a principal role in architecting a joint venture to win the mobile communication license in Iraq and syndicated $50 million in equity and debt financing from various entities. He was also the founder and CTO of PacketStream, Inc. where he secured more than $5 million in equity financing. Dinha has a master of science in computer engineering from the University of Linkoping in Sweden.
“I think what sets successful people apart is their ability to find a way to get things done – just because something’s never been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be. It can – but only when someone is not willing to take no for an answer.”