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Symantec Recognized By Small Business Administration

Date Posted:

Mountain View, CA 94043

Highlights: 17,500 empoyees in more than 40 countries

Symantec, an outstanding example of the values of the SBIR program, was inducted into SBA’s Hall of Fame on February 15, 2011. It was the first recipient of a grant via the SBIR program in 1982, established at the time by Roland Tibbett.  This grant was critical for Gary Hendrix to establish Symantec.

The year was 1979, in the pilot program’s second solicitation for proposals, NSF funded a Phase I research proposal from Machine Intelligence Corporation of Cupertino, CA for $25,000 to research a radical concept –sort words alphabetically on an IBM 386.  At that time, this was feasible only on a Cray super computer!  While conventional wisdom doubted the idea’s feasibility, the proposal was funded as it held enormous potential.  Promising Phase I results lead to a $220,000 Phase II grant. Machine Intelligence went bankrupt in 1982.  At this crucial juncture, Dr. Gary Hendrix, the principal investigator on the project, and his team of four pursued the idea with the remaining SBIR funds – and Symantec was born. Hendrix team was successful and the breakthrough product, Q&A Software, was a resounding market success. Ultimately Symantec generated $50 million in sales from Q&A and six related products.

Breakthrough ideas often have substantial economic leverage in a wider arena than the original planned market. Hendrix said that the breakthrough had “the intellectual and commercial pizzaz to quickly attract $14 million of venture capital and IPO investment along with top-flight people - in management, scientists, engineers and marketing. SBIR was the “magic catalyst” that opened the avenues for a wide range of new possibilities.  One of Symantec’s acquisition, Norton, tripled its sales within a year. Norton’s Internet security gradually became the focus of Symantec activities and today it is a world leader in that field. Hendrix said that without SBIR’s support for his radical idea, much of their economic growth would not have happened.

Mountain View, USA
350 Ellis Street
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: 650-527-8000

Funding Agency

National Science Foundation