2020 AFCEA 40 Under 40
2020 Award

Ruben Gavilan, NexThreat Founder - CEO

Ruben Gavilan founded NexThreat in 2016 and built it into one of the fastest growing, and most advanced Defensive Cyber Operations firms in the Industry. Through his role NexThreat has gone from Startup to performing across multiple DOD, FEDCIV, and Commercial clients. Beating revenue projections each year and delivering a Management Consultants view to the Information Security programs that NexThreat Supports.

Owing to the success and unique viewpoint NexThreat brings to its clients, NexThreat has been approached and has assisted some of the most powerful people on earth, as well as their organizations. NexThreat has been the tip of the spear in generating actionable cyber answers and detecting threats for such institutions as Koch Industries, Visa, eBay, PayPal, and Morgan Stanley, as well as Major Federal Agencies, IC and DOD.

Ruben’s career began at the age of 17 when he enlisted in the US Navy as a Cryptologist, working tirelessly with the Intelligence Community to discern meaningful patterns from large datasets, protect critical assets, and structure the future of the Navy’s Cyber Adversary detection strategy. After numerous successful deployments, including living on the USS Essex in Japan, Ruben began to plan for his exit of Military Service and Transition to Civilian life when he was ejected from a vehicle as it was rolling over. This accident left Ruben with a very shiny wheelchair and a significant amount of time to embark on focused courses of study.

With an absolute never quit mentality and a lot of physical therapy, Ruben regained the ability to walk and relocated to Washington DC in 2005 to increase his exposure to the frontlines of Cyber. His first position was working on having intelligence Satellites for the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency, followed with a string of “Ethical Hacking work” that quickly became very stale, due to the ease of which most government systems at the time were penetrated. Seeing this difficulty first hand, Ruben decided to move to defensive cyber, because catching an advanced adversary is much more difficult than being an effective adversary.

This attraction to Pattern Recognition and defensive cyber is at the heart of NexThreat, and maintains an extremely important part of Ruben’s day to day focus. This focus has allowed for a natural pivot into the field of Insider Threat Detection, where Ruben is an industry-recognized expert and award-winning detection methodology, expert. This expertise has allowed NexThreat to grow through meritocracy, word of mouth, and old fashion success – Ruben continues to directly support contracts in a consultant role across several projects and finds that the fundamental skills of Pattern Recognition and Investigation marry extremely well with running a growing company.

Ruben lives in Alexandria, VA, with his lovely wife, Nataliia, who runs a law firm in Georgetown, and they split responsibilities on MelkoTech – a recruiting firm that Nataliia also Started. He enjoys numerous hobbies which include Cycling, Snowboarding, Baking, and getting out of the tourist areas during their travels.