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Dragons bite hard on FixMeStick virus removal

- January 21st, 2014

FixMeStick Pic 2

It can be pretty tough to pry any amount of money from the pockets of the five dragons on a good day, let alone walk away with a deal worth a half-million dollars. But that’s what Montreal’s Marty Algire & Corey Velan; co-founders of FixMeStick did on CBC’s Dragons’ Den this past Wednesday.

Their pitch: Asking for $500K in exchange for 20% of their business featuring their flagship product of the same name. It’s a virus removal device – that also covers spyware, Trojans, rootkits and other malware.  Algire says there are 250,000 new viruses released each day and despite all the software out there, computers are still getting hit.

The beauty of FixMeStick is that it runs off a bootable USB stick running a Linux-based OS. The PC loads the FixMeStick system instead of the computer’s OS, so any nasty malware on the computer is not operational while the FixMeStick is. This makes malware removal a whole lot easier.

(For more specifics, we covered FixMeStick in our post FixMeStick: Self propelled virus removal gadget, back in October 2012.)

At the time of recording, FixMeStick had $400k in sales in 10 months, mostly through their website and Amazon.com, slowly finding their way into big box stores & retail and just starting in the U.S. Their forecast was $1.2M for the upcoming year.

All Dragons were impressed with the product and the numbers and wanted in.  Bruce Croxon, Chairman Round 13 Capital and Jim Treliving, Chairman & Owner Boston Pizza, each offered to take the deal as pitched.  David Chilton, The Wealthy Barber and Arlene Dickinson, CEO Venture Communications made the same offer as a team and Kevin O’Leary, Chairman O’Leary Funds, aka Mr. Wonderful, conjured up his own deal and offered $500k as debt at 9.5% with no equity position.

Once the dust settled and after serious consideration, the FixMeStick duo struck a deal with Dickinson and Chilton.

FixMEStick Pic1

The Deal Changes

The showed aired last week, but was actually recorded at the end of March 2013. And since the taping, Algire says, things have changed. In fact the first change, adding Croxon, a third dragon into the deal, occurred backstage right after the show’s taping ended, when the two sat down to sign the “terms” sheet where the handshakes are formalized.

The deal has also evolved. The equity portion remained the same at 20%, but added a separate “strategic partnership plus royalty deal.”

During that time the company’s prospects had also changed.

“Other opportunities had already realized as real revenue,” Algire adds. “Getting into Costco was just a possibility, by August we were nation-wide in Costco Wholesale.”

He said they had also secured Walmart, The Source and London Drugs as customers.

Money for Advertising

Algire and Velan never indicated during the show what they were going to do with the $500K. Interestingly enough, it’s not for hiring or R&D, but rather for traditional TV and media advertising. Algire stresses that offerings like an anti-viral product doesn’t advertise very well on the Internet due to the vast number of product offerings – “including the cesspool of legitimate and illegitimate products and the number of scams out there on the Internet.”

FixMeStick for Mac Coming Soon?

The current product is PC based only and, since its original launch in May 2012, the company has received an overwhelming number of inquiries, including from yours truly, about having a version for the Mac.

In fact, the company has just launched a KickStarter project to fund a prototype to develop FixMeStick for Macintosh.  The company says that it can certainly use some of the IP from the PC version, but not all, as it will need to take into account some of the Mac’s inherent differences and considerations for things like File system, booting properties and of course different virus definitions.

In just a few days, FixMeStick has already gained 375 backers anteing up $16,994 towards their goal of $50,000 CAD with funding going ahead if they can secure the full amount by Friday Feb 14th.

Photos courtesy Marty Algire and CBC.

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Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg or Empire Avenue (e)GADGET1.

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2 comments

  1. Will | January 23, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Nice going guys!

    Make sure and let us all know when you’re planning your IPO, okay? You’re going nowhere but up!

  2. Quincy Baldwin | January 30, 2014 at 10:39 am

    The product is extremely thorough and uses three anti-virus programmes powered by Kaspersky Lab, Sophos, and GFI, three of the biggest names in computer security.

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