After leading Brainspace for 12 years, founder and CEO Dave Copps is stepping down. The move comes about 10 months after the artificial intelligence startup was bought by cybersecurity company Cyxtera Technologies as part of a $2.8 billion deal.
“Part of it is the mechanics of acquisition,” Copps said. “Once I transferred all divisions, I felt it was the right time.
Brainspace, which functions as an arm of Cyxtera, will continue under the leadership of Chris Day, Cyxtera’s chief cybersecurity officer charged with the threat analytics services team. Copps announced his departure to his team on Friday.
Copps has not yet committed to any next steps but said artificial intelligence remains an attractive area. Later down the road, he’d like to dedicate himself solely to mentoring startups. He currently meets with about 50 startups and mentors two a year, he said.
“Whatever I do next, I have to make sure it’s the right thing,” he said. “I have one more move, then that’s it for me.”
Copps leaves Brainspace at a time when it’s “taking off,” he said. Now that it has the capital and reach it needs to expand under Cyxtera, Brainspace is experiencing “massive growth.” After the acquisition, the company went from from serving users in 50 locations to 200 locations. It also plans to take advantage of Cyxtera’s footprint, which includes 57 data centers across the world.
Though Brainspace’s current and upcoming growth will be driven by its new ownership, the company’s machine-learning software caught on quickly by big clients. About two years after launching the company, Brainspace picked up its first client LexisNexis. At the time, Brainspace only had four employees, $100,000 in revenue, and half-baked software.
“We were against billion-dollar companies,” Copps said. “We ended up winning, and we were just three guys in a garage.”
The idea sold itself. Brainspace’s software helps clients quickly search big data by concepts rather than keywords, grouping together related items. With the numerous applications, the software was adopted by clients including General Electric, Deloitte, KPMG, Pioneer Resources, and PwC.
Copps said: “Brainspace is definitely my baby. It’s a little bittersweet stepping away.”
And while that may be true, something tells me Copps won’t be too heartbroken over the next couple of weeks. Three days after he stepped down, he hopped on a plane to The Grenadines islands in the Caribbean.