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Global Cybersecurity Thought Leader and Co-founder of DTEX Systems Mohan Koo Recognised by Pearcey Foundation

Announcement posted by Pearcey Foundation 18 Nov 2021

The Pearcey Foundation today announced Mohan Koo, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of world leading cybersecurity provider DTEX Systems, as the recipient of the 2021 South Australian Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Award. This was the final award presented in Pearcey Foundation’s 2021 State and Territory program, with the Pearcey National Awards to be held at a virtual event on Wednesday 24 November 2021.

The award was presented to Mohan by the chair of the SA Pearcey Committee Susan Andrews at an informal ceremony in the presence of committee members including previous South Australian award recipients Geoff Rohrsheim (Chamonix - 2018) and Tony Clark (Rising Sun Pictures - 2019), and experienced entrepreneurial advisers Mark Ledson and Mike Richards. The Pearcey Foundation was very pleased to be joined at the event by South Australian Chief Entrepreneur Andrew Nunn and Alan Noble, who represented the National Pearcey Committee. The 2020 SA Pearcey Entrepreneur Award recipient Michelle Perugini (Life Whisperer), who nominated Mohan, sent her apologies from California. 

“Mohan Koo is an outstanding recipient based on the Pearcey Entrepreneur selection criteria of making a difference, taking a risk, and being an inspiration. His global tech achievements over more than 20 years and his entrepreneurial perseverance through tough times seemed remarkable. DTEX Systems is now widely recognised as one of the most trusted brands in the global cybersecurity arena, relied upon to protect the workforce, data and systems of the world’s most critical infrastructure entities, businesses and government agencies. He has built a truly international security company and is a most worthy recipient of the 2021 South Australian Pearcey Entrepreneur Award,” said Susan Andrews, chair of the South Australian Pearcey Committee.

Mohan was born and grew up in Adelaide. Early on in his career, he noticed businesses moving from paper to computers without security and all based on trust. Following a role to track down fraud within a company, Mohan foresaw that there were emerging opportunities in cybersecurity. This was in the late 1990s, long before cybersecurity became recognised as an ever-growing problem. 

After co-founding DTEX in Adelaide, he pursued customers with a need for enterprise-scale cybersecurity solutions driven by behavioural science - firstly in Australia, then the UK and Silicon Valley - all the time developing more technologically sophisticated whole-of-enterprise solutions. Mohan returned to Adelaide in 2018, coinciding with his appointment by Premier Steven Marshall to South Australia’s inaugural Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.

DTEX has grown to be a significant global security company with customers including Fortune 500, government and military organisations. The firm’s speciality is in one of the most difficult areas of cybersecurity – detection of insider threats and the proactive prevention of data loss incidents. DTEX has pioneered a privacy-by-design approach to enterprise data collection, understanding employee behaviour, real-time feedback of security risks and how to improve security operations, raising US$70m in multiple funding rounds with investments from three significant tier one Silicon Valley venture capital firms. DTEX has appointees from the US Department of Defense and the NSA, growing to nearly 100 engineers and data scientists across Silicon Valley and Adelaide.

Mohan is highly regarded as a thought leader in the global cybersecurity industry. He is passionate about Australian innovation and the capabilities of data scientists, security specialists and AI skills in Adelaide, and is highly active encouraging cybersecurity skills in schools, industry and academia. He also helped to establish the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre (A3C).

As the SA Pearcey Award recipient, Mohan Koo will represent the state in the Pearcey National Awards and November Conversation on 24 November 2021 (see below for more details).

For more information about previous South Australian Pearcey Entrepreneur Award winners, go to https://pearcey.org.au/2021-sa-award/.

Other State Awards

Australia Capital Territory Awards: Liquid Instruments CEO Daniel Shaddock received the 2021 ACT Chief Minister’s Pearcey Entrepreneur Award. See further https://prwire.com.au/pr/99152/liquid-instruments-ceo-daniel-shaddock-receives-2021-act-chief-ministers-pearcey-entrepreneur-award.

NSW Awards: the NSW Award was presented to brother and sister team Jordan O'Reilly and Laura O'Reilly OAM, co-founders of Hireup, a profit-for-purpose business aimed at connecting people with disability in Australia with support workers who fit their needs and share their interests. See https://prwire.com.au/pr/99579/disability-advocates-and-social-entrepreneurs-jordan-and-laura-oreilly-recognised-with-2021-pearcey-foundation-award

Queensland Awards: STEM education leader and co-founder of STEM Punks Michael Holmstrom was announced as the 2021 recipient. See more at https://prwire.com.au/pr/99356/2021-queensland-pearcey-ict-entrepreneur-award-recognises-award-winning-stem-education-leader-michael-holmstrom.

Tasmanian Awards: the Pearcey Foundation announced Nina McMahon, co-founder and CEO of PopUp WiFi as the recipient of the 2021 Tasmanian Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year Award. See further https://prwire.com.au/pr/100220/popup-wifi-ceo-and-co-founder-nina-mcmahon-awarded-2021-tasmanian-pearcey-entrepreneur-of-the-year.

Victorian Awards: this year’s recipient is Bronwyn Le Grice, CEO and managing director of ANDHealth. See further https://prwire.com.au/pr/98622/digital-health-leader-bronwyn-le-grice-named-as-2021-victorian-pearcey-entrepreneur-of-the-year.

Western Australia Awards: this year’s Pearcey WA Entrepreneur of the Year is Charlie Gunningham, Managing Editor, The Property Tribune and Startup News; and Founder & Principal of Damburst. He has spent more than 20 years in the Perth technology and startup sector, firstly as a founder himself, through to exit, and more recently as a writer, advisor and investor. He now works in an advisory capacity for multiple tech and other businesses, is managing editor of Startup News and co-host of the Startup West podcast. Gunningham was presented with his award at the 30th INCITE Awards, the longest running ICT Awards program in WA.

National Pearcey Awards

The winners of the prestigious 2021 Pearcey National Awards – including the Pearcey Medal, Hall of Fame and National Entrepreneur Award – will be announced at a virtual event on Wednesday 24 November from 4:00pm AEDT. The presentation will be followed by the final Pearcey Conversation for 2021 – Predictions for 2022 and Beyond! – with industry leaders sharing their valuable insights and predictions for the year ahead. Speakers include: Wayne Fitzsimmons, Chair, The Pearcey Foundation; Maria MacNamara, CEO and Advisory Board Member; Kerri Lee Sinclair, Investor and Non–Executive Board Member; Professor Toby Walsh, Laureate Fellow and Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence, UNSW. For more details and to register, go to https://heritage.pearcey.org.au/2021-national-awards-and-nov-conversation.  

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About the Pearcey Foundation
The Pearcey Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organisation established in 1998 to raise the profile of the Australian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry and profession. It was created in the memory of one of the greatest pioneers of the Australian ICT industry, Dr Trevor Pearcey. By celebrating the heroes in our industry, past present and future, the Foundation is looking to attract and encourage young Australians into this most exciting of global high technology sectors of our nation.


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