Qualys CEO: I Chose Not To Be A Billionaire

Business Insider

To say Qualys CEO Philippe Courtot knows how to make money from starting tech companies is an understatement.

He's a multimillionaire after selling three companies and taking two others public.

His latest success is Qualys, which went public in September.

His first was cc:Mail, an early email program. When he took the CEO job, the company had $2,000 in the bank, he told Business Insider.

He sold it to Lotus in 1991 for $55 million. He sold his next company, Signio, to VeriSign for $1.3 billion. Including his angel investments, he's helped build some 10 startups in his three decades in the Valley.

With all the money he's made, he says he had to deliberately choose not to become too rich.

"I'm not a billionaire and I never really wanted to be one," he said. "I could have been. But then you become too visible and then you lose your life."

"I'm not saying being a billionaire is bad," he laughed. It's just that he'd rather be "more anonymous."

So how did he deliberately avoid becoming a billionaire? By giving away large stakes of his companies to early employees, he says.

"One of the thing I've done is shared the wealth. Some founders, for good or bad reasons, try to keep more of the shares for themselves. Yes, my goal was to make money, but I didn't want the burden of making too much money."



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