An irreverent crew focused on helping our customers love security, rebelling against the status quo and getting $#*! done
How we got started
(not in a garage… but in a barn)
It was a tweet. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Seriously, when co-founders Dave Merkel, Yanek Korff and Justin Bajko saw @rickhholland tweet back in late 2015 that MSSP customers had endured “the customer service equiv. of taxi drivers” they saw an opportunity.
What we found
(alerts without any good answers)
Digging deeper, we saw three big problems that were dragging the security industry down.
- Too many confusing security products delivering reams of alerts
- Not enough security talent to prioritize the alerts and effectively manage the risk
- MSSPs who had failed to deliver on their promises
And there were no good solutions. Some companies were looking at managed detection and response (MDR) providers – but MDRs added a new expense without replacing MSSPs. Most customers were suffering in silence with no alternative.
(it’s a bit unorthodox but we DO believe that you can love security)
Remember how IT used to run wires and rack servers? Thanks to cloud computing and web services they don’t do that anymore.
But if you’re in security you still spend the majority of your time in the weeds massaging alerts and operating products. Or worse, you can’t afford (or find) the people and technology to even do that.
We want to flip that equation and create space for you to do what you love about security (even if that’s thinking about it as littleas possible).
(so radical we had to talk ourselves into it)
We think our approach is pretty unique. It starts with transparency. We’re busting up the proprietary black-box approach that MSSPs and MDR providers take. In our hold-your-cards-close-to-your-chest industry that’s the radical part.
Here’s what we do…
- We use the security products you’ve already bought
- Our analysts investigate alerts and monitor your environment
- When we find a problem we tell you exactly what to do about it
- We also tell you how to fix the root cause of problems that happen over and over
Transparency means that you can look behind the curtain while we’re doing ^this^ and see anything (or everything) our analysts are doing for you 24x7 while they’re doing it. Heck, we’ve even built it so you can even jump in and work collaboratively with our analysts if you want. Either way, we’ll give you answers to these questions (not more alerts).
Dave is responsible for making sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do. He is often mistaken for Willy Wonka.
Chief Executive Officer
Dave Merkel (aka “Merk”) is the co-founder of Expel as well as the company’s chief executive officer. He’s ultimately responsible for everything and has been frequently mistaken for Willy Wonka.
Dave has been involved in the information security field for nearly 20 years, first as a federal agent pursuing cyber criminals in the era of floppy disks and 2400 baud modems, then as chief technology officer (CTO) and vice president of products at Mandiant. Following FireEye’s acquisition of Mandiant, Dave served as the global CTO of FireEye.
Before Dave’s 10 years as a solutions provider he spent another decade as a security practitioner. He got his start as a special agent in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, pursuing cyber criminals and conducting digital forensic investigations, and later as head of AOL’s technical security organization. While at AOL, he created and ran the first incident response capability for AOL and Time Warner, managed software security and policy programs, and built technologies for AOL’s security infrastructure.
He is frequently invited to comment on security-related headlines, and has been featured in news outlets like Bloomberg, The Washington Post and Forbes. Dave was also named to Washingtonian’s Tech Titans list in 2018 and 2015.
Yanek is responsible for finding whitespace and figuring out if (and maybe how) we should fill it. He thrives in driving our CEO up the wall, ideally with puns.
Chief Operating Officer
Yanek Korff is a co-founder of Expel as well as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). In addition to paying the bills and counting beans, Yanek makes it easy for employees to stay focused on serving our customers.
Yanek has worked in IT and information security roles for nearly 20 years beginning as a student help desk technician in a musty basement at the College of William and Mary.
Prior to Expel, Yanek was the vice president of Mandiant’s managed services business which helped customers mitigate the consequences of security breaches. Yanek established and grew the service to become one of the first follow-the-sun managed detection and response (MDR) providers, accounting for over 30 percent of Mandiant’s revenue. Following Mandiant’s acquisition by FireEye, Yanek served as CTO of FireEye as a Service, FireEye’s managed services offering.
Prior to Mandiant, Yanek was responsible for the majority of AOL’s security infrastructure including authentication, authorization management, public key infrastructure (PKI) and systems that supported incident response, e-discovery and investigations.
Yanek has a B.S. in Computer Science from the College of William and Mary, and an M.S. in the Management of IT from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. He was the principal author for “Mastering FreeBSD” and “OpenBSD Security”, published by O’Reilly.
Matt is responsible for creating and developing what Expel runs on. He is also unnaturally obsessed with obscure vocabulary and irrelevant historical references.
Chief Product Officer
Matt Peters is our chief product officer (CPO). As CPO, Matt focuses on robust dialogue, encouragement of his team as they grow their own careers, and the relationships between all aspects of the business.
He comes to the company with 20 years of experience in the tech world. Before joining Expel, Matt was vice president of worldwide operations at FireEye for the managed services offering, FireEye as a Service.
Before FireEye, Matt was the director of technical operations at Mandiant for Mandiant Managed Defense, one of the first managed detection and response (MDR) services. He was responsible for the design and delivery of the application platform that powered analyst detection and investigation.
Before getting into the managed services space, Matt worked at a number of Silicon Valley computer networking technology startups before joining Check Point Software where he led the security analytics group, which applied machine learning and data science to network and firewall data.
Matt has a B.S. in computer engineering from the University of Kansas.
Kelly is responsible for making sure everyone knows Expel's story. She is also an avid hockey fan yet can't stand on skates.
Chief Marketing Officer
Kelly Fiedler is the chief marketing officer at Expel. As CMO she leads our brand building and storytelling — championing Expel’s unique voice and letting the world know what makes us stand out from the crowd.
Kelly has over 25 years of technology marketing experience and has helped both large orgs and startups get themselves on the map and find their voice. Before joining Expel, she was CMO at RSA Security. Before that, she was the VP of Marketing at Aveksa, which was acquired by RSA. She also held numerous leadership positions at Unica, where she was instrumental in growing the business to more than $100M and helped lead its successful IPO in 2005.
Kelly holds an MBA in Marketing from the Boston College Carroll School of Management, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University.
Roger Studner is our chief architect, meaning that he works to make sure that the architectural elements of our platform evolve alongside our growing customer base.
Roger Studner is our chief architect, meaning that he works to make sure that the architectural elements of our platform evolve alongside our growing customer base.
Prior to becoming Chief Architect, Roger served as a director of engineering at Expel. As director, he concentrated on the growth of the teams building the customer-facing portion of Expel Workbench. This involved offering both technical expertise on building the user experience as well as working to develop an efficient feature team model. He successfully aligned the delivery of solutions to the needs of both internal and external customers.
Prior to Expel, Roger focused on the customer-facing web portal as a Principal Software Engineer at FireEye. He also championed the adoption of new UI frameworks across the broader organization. Even as an individual contributor, he showed an early interest in experimenting with new technologies to drive success.
Earlier in his career, Roger worked as a full stack software engineer in a variety of different verticals in the software industry, ranging from globally distributed distance learning offerings, application performance monitoring and high-scale social media offerings. He also dabbled with pandemic flu detection via mass data aggregation and created proofs of concept for a branch of the armed forces. Last but not least, he was the technical lead in developing ruled-based applications helping the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Joint Forces Command plan and simulate operational activities.
Roger is an alumnus of California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo where he studied mathematics and computer engineering.
Maria Izurieta is a serial technology Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who loves to grow and scale companies by turning corporate visions into reality through financial and operational initiatives.
Chief Financial Officer
Maria Izurieta is a serial technology Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who loves to grow and scale companies by turning corporate visions into reality through financial and operational initiatives. Having operated as a board member, CEO and CFO, she has been able to view businesses through multiple lenses helping to provide 360 degrees view of the elements of success.
Prior to joining the Expel crew, Maria has raised funds, driven growth initiatives and led and integrated M&A activities. She also conducted pivot and turnaround strategies and a successful exit of a public company. Maria started her career as an auditor at PWC specializing in SaaS/technology company IPO’s and public offerings. She was recognized on multiple occasions for her contributions to the community as a CFO, including recognition as a leading CFO in 2016, 2014 and 2008 by the Northern Virginia Technology Council. She was also included in the Trending 40 Top Tech CFO in 2015. She received the Executive Management Award (EMA) by Washington SmartCEO in 2014 and, most recently, was recognized as A Power Women of Tech in 2019.
Maria is committed to sharing her expertise, developing the next generation of leaders and giving back to the business community through her involvement in various volunteer organizations. Some of these organizations include: BooleanGirls, educating girls to code, build, invent, and animate; Northern Virginia Family Services, helping families and individuals in need create stability and self-sufficiency with a wide range of critical services; TechCFO Network of the Greater Washington Area, an organization facilitating collaboration amongst technology-oriented CFO; WomenSquared, an executive women’s leadership roundtable. Maria is also a member of Women in Technology’s Leadership Foundry and Women’s Corporate Directors.
Justin is responsible for staying close to our customers and partners and making sure that we’re heading in the right direction. He also spends a lot of time fretting about Tennessee’s football program.
VP Strategy and Business Development
Justin Bajko is a co-founder of Expel as well as our VP of Strategy and Business Development. It’s Justin’s job to stay close to our customers and partners and make sure that we’re heading in the right direction. He also spends a good bit of his free time fretting about the University of Tennessee’s football program.
Justin has been involved in information security and managed services since just after the turn of the century. Prior to Expel, he was senior director of global service delivery for FireEye’s managed service, FireEye as a Service. Justin was responsible for building and managing FireEye’s security operations centers (SOCs) around the world, including a staff of more than 80 analysts.
Prior to FireEye, Justin was the managing director for Mandiant’s Managed Defense service, one of the industry’s first managed detection and response (MDR) providers. Before that, Justin worked at Symantec where he worked in a number of roles within their managed services business ranging from SOC engineer to senior manager of the global threat response team where he was responsible for detection capabilities, intelligence integration, and customer data ingestion for Symantec’s MSSP customers worldwide.
Justin hails from northeast Tennessee. In his free time he enjoys anything to do with cars (spending an inordinate amount of time making sure his are always clean) or boats, traveling, and playing an embarrassing amount of video games.
Peter Silberman is the chief technology officer (CTO) at Expel.
Chief Technology Officer
Peter Silberman is the chief technology officer (CTO) at Expel. Peter splits his time between ensuring Expel has a robust detection and response strategy for all its technical partners/integrations and making sure that Expel is pushing the envelope with new ways to improve analyst experience and efficiency. He works to achieve this while also driving new service capabilities built on top of those integrations. Expel’s exceptional team of engineers get to do all the code writing (the fun stuff!). He gets to write docs and draw pictures for others (the
Before joining Expel, Peter was the senior director of Innovation and Customer Engineering (ICE) at FireEye. He helped create what’s now known as the FireEye Data Science Group. He worked to deliver new capabilities impacting all aspects of the company’s product portfolio. This includes building technologies to automate various tasks faced by responders, reverse engineers and SOC analysts. Peter spent some of his focus researching memory forensics, finding new artifacts that could be used for detection and response.
Peter often presents his original research at industry conferences including CanSecWest, DefCon, HITB, Black Hat and RSA. He continues to focus on discovering new and efficient ways to automate the repetitive tasks that machines do better than humans, so that humans focus on what they do best – making judgement calls and building relationships that improve customers’ experience.
Amy ensures that Expel's a place everyone wants to work, whether they’re checking out an open role or charting the next step in their career. When not doing that, she's likely striking a yoga pose or on a dance floor.
Chief People Officer
Amy Rossi is our chief people officer. She’s leading the charge to make Expel a place where everyone wants to work. That includes how we hire, develop, and take care of our team.
While in college, Amy created her first leadership development program for a summer camp in New York and she has been building people development programs ever since. She comes to Expel with more than 15 years experience in human resources, talent management, and learning and development.
Prior to joining Expel, Amy was vice president of talent management at MicroStrategy. Before that, she served in human resources and talent management roles at AOL, comScore, Network Solutions and CareerBuilder. She has built talent management functions from the ground up twice and some of her best work has involved developing managers and leaders.
Amy graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Recreation Administration and a Minor in Dance and has completed coursework in adult education at George Mason University.
Peter Katz joined Expel in 2020 as our Vice President and General Counsel. He’s building our in-house legal team from the ground up.
Vice President and General Counsel
Peter Katz joined Expel in 2020 as our Vice President and General Counsel. He’s building our in-house legal team from the ground up. We like that he’s not only bringing his more than 15 years of experience as an attorney to Expel, but also his great sense of humor. (Kind of a requirement here).
Before joining Expel, Peter was Vice President and General Counsel of Duo Security. During his time as an executive at Duo, he built and led the legal department, serving as a trusted advisor to the management team and Board of Directors. In 2018, his legal strategy was integral during the Cisco acquisition of Duo Security for $2.35 billion.
Prior to Duo Security, Peter was Director and Senior Legal Counsel of AlixPartners, a global consulting firm. He also served as Associate Counsel of Vanguard, one of the world’s largest investment management firms. And before all that, Peter was an Associate in the Corporate & Securities practice at Pepper Hamilton, based in the Philadelphia office.
Peter has a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.S. in finance from the University of Florida.