Meet the Atlanta Cyber Week Influencers: Waratek CEO, John K. Adams on Site selection: Where Your Company is Located is No Laughing Matter

By John K. Adams, CEO, Waratek

If you’re a fan of Silicon Valley, HBO’s satirical version of the world of tech start-ups and behemoths, you’re familiar with some of the pains of site selection. In the show, the main character locates his start-up company in a house owned by an investor, turning the living room into a coding bull pen and the garage into a server farm.

Where to put operations are not limited to the fictional start-up Pied Piper, but also in an on-going turf battle between the Founder and Chair and the outsider CEO of a larger competitor. This gets repeatedly played out in conversations about “is it faster to fly to a customer meeting by way of the Chairman’s vacation home or the CEO’s?”

Thankfully, in the real world, where to put your company’s first location or your next outpost is considerably easier and, hopefully, less entertaining.

At Waratek, when it came time to select a permanent location for our expansion into the U.S. market from our company base in Ireland, Atlanta immediately rose to the top of the list. We considered New York and Charlotte as banking centers; Raleigh, Austin, Seattle as tech centers; and Chicago for its central location.

While it didn’t hurt that it’s my home, the fact is, Atlanta is the perfect location for new and established cybersecurity companies to set up shop. The cost of doing business is low compared to other major urban centers, the airport is obviously world-class and the talent pool for technology skills is deep.

None of those advantages, though, is the primary reason why we selected Atlanta. This is: the number of potential customers – especially the 26 Fortune 500 company CISOs – is already large and growing. Secondly, Atlanta’s growing role as THE global hub for payment transaction processing and the proximity to the U.S. Army’s Cyber Command doesn’t hurt, either.

Like Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks – “Because that’s where the money is” – Waratek is in Atlanta because that’s where the customers are. And, it’s more fun to watch Silicon Valley when you don’t live there.

John K. Adams is CEO of Waratek, a pioneer in virtualization-based application security that calls the Atlanta Metro area home.

Want to learn more about Atlanta’s cybersecurity ecosystem? Visit to learn more about the events of Atlanta Cyber Week happening October 2-6, 2017.