In 2013, Hoplite Industries was formally founded - in Anthony’s Cochenour’s home garage.
Like many entrepreneurs, Anthony had already achieved a great deal of success in his field of digital forensics - but was continuously seeing room for improvement. And, like most great creative business minds, as soon as he saw a problem he began developing his own solution. That solution became a leading-edge business co-located in the Montana cities of Butte and Bozeman.
Anthony had been working for renowned IT/software companies like Cisco for over a dozen years when he remembers identifying the IT industry’s need for better cyber security solutions clearly:
“When I was working as a network engineer and forensic analyst, we typically didn’t see any evidence of ‘bad things’ until well after they had occurred, and that led to a 20/20 hindsight diagnosis of what had actually happened. I decided to turn digital forensics on its ear so the incident response is now happening every second of every day.”
Anthony used the little spare time he had to develop a completely unique technology that proactively detects and defends against cyber security threats. After making significant investments of his personal funds in the cutting-edge equipment required to run Hoplite’s technology, Anthony began seeking investors and looking at next steps for expanding the business while keeping as much of the operation in Montana as possible:
“We’re all community-focused people on our team…we wanted to keep as many dollars as possible in-state. We didn’t even waste a second looking outside Montana for the talent or resources we needed.”
Anthony’s search for talent and resources took him to Butte, Montana - a city known for the pivotal role its mines and people played in fueling the American Industrial Revolution. Soon after his team’s initial visit to the community, the Montana Economic Revitalization and Development Institute took the initiative to put together a strong, unsolicited offer that included a great data center space, sizable broadband capacity, and a talented workforce pool. Hoplite saw the opportunity in front of them and took MERDI up on their offer, allowing for other less-anticipated business benefits:
“Being in the data center in uptown Butte, we have a ready-made customer base of businesses that need our cyber security services all around us. We’re constantly expanding our reach.”
Anthony describes 2014 as Hoplite’s “year to shine”, marking their transition from proof-of-concept to a working product. The Hoplite team currently consists of four people, and Anthony anticipates bringing on eight to ten employees once the company is through with field-testing their technology and completes the financing process. Half the team will be in Butte, and the other half will work at corporate headquarters in Bozeman. As the company grows, Anthony is making sure they stick to the Montana ethos of building strong relationships with their customers:
“We’re able to sit down and really listen to what our customers want and need, instead of creating a bunch of features that aren’t really useful to them. We’ve actually surprised a customer by custom building a feature for their specific needs without being asked…I don’t know that we would have that flexibility working on either coast [of the United States].”
Anthony certainly appreciates the quality of life he and his family enjoy in Montana, but sees the talented, hard-working people he finds here to be the premiere benefit of building a business in Big Sky Country:
“I’ve interacted with IT professionals all over the world, and know without a doubt my colleagues in Montana are equally as talented, and probably twice as hard-working…I would put the people on my team here up against any IT team anywhere, and be willing to guarantee we’d come out on top. Hard work and ingenuity is just ingrained in Montanans.”