On the rooftop terrace of the five-star Hotel U Prince, Pavel Baudis surveys the city he’s lived in for most of his 59 years. Over his shoulder is Prague’s tourist-heavy town square and the grand gothic spires of the Church of Our Lady before Týn; in front of him stand serried ranks of ochre rooftops
The city has become considerably more colorful in his lifetime. Baudis lived through the dark days after Warsaw Pact troops crushed the Prague Spring, entrenching a communism so stringent in its ideals it would prevent his father from practising psychiatry and limited his own education. Then came liberalisation after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, creating opportunities for would be inventors like Baudis.
Through it all, he’s has persevered with a cool, thrifty attitude. It’s a mindset that has enabled him to transform a little cybersecurity company he co-founded during the waning days of the communist regime into an industry leader that is taking on, and in some ways outdoing, aggressive American rivals like McAfee and Symantec. It has also made him one of a handful of Czech billionaires.
Baudis’ baby is Avast, the anti-virus software that sits on more than 400 million computers and smartphones around the world. Like the similar products McAfee and Norton also developed in the late 1980s, it’s designed to prevent cybercriminals and spies from installing data-pilfering tools on computers. The main difference is that Avast is free and only available online, not in retail stores. That “freemium” model has lifted Baudis’ company to giddy heights, culminating in its 2018 London Stock Exchange IPO, which set it on a course to become a $4 billion business and has taken Baudis’ net worth to $1.4 billion as of June 2019.
The entire article can be found at Forbes