It’s been 10 years since we launched the FixMeStick, and a lot has happened since then! From our two appearances on Dragons’ Den and launching our new product, the StartMeStick, we truly have a lot to be thankful for.
We’d like to take some time to not only thank our customers for showing their support after all these years but also our founders, Corey Velan and Marty Algire. They have made it their goal to help protect the computers of the world! And what better way to celebrate FixMeStick’s 10-year anniversary, than by picking the brains of the FixMeStick head honchos with a Q&A!
Where are both of you from, and how did you meet?
Corey: I was born and raised right here, in Montreal, Quebec!
Marty: I grew up in a rural town in eastern Ontario, but decided to move out to Montreal for school.
I hired Corey as an intern in 1999 at a Montreal Internet security startup called Zero-Knowledge Systems. We’ve been working more or less within 12 feet of each other ever since, with the exception of the current work-from-home orders.
What were you doing before you started FixMeStick?
Marty: We both founded FixMeStick in 2011! Corey studied at Queen’s and Stanford, and was previously Director of Development and Lead Architect at Radialpoint, provider of consumer security solutions to very large ISPs.
I received my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biosystems Engineering from McGill University, and was a founding team member of the pioneering Internet privacy company Zero-Knowledge and Vice-President of Products and Engineering at Radialpoint.
What prompted the decision to start FixMeStick?
Corey: We’d spent our careers in Internet endpoint security, and at our last company we saw every day how malware was consistently beating anti-malware and how stranded that leaves people. So we set out to build a solution to remove malware from infected computers.
The principles underlying the FixMeStick are tried and true, and are no surprise to anyone in Internet security. The engineering challenge would be to get the principles to work on a mass scale for non-engineers, i.e. regular computer users, not IT professionals.
What was it like when you first started FixMeStick?
Corey: Early in the first year of our startup journey we actually became disenchanted with the FixMeStick, and ditched the concept for several weeks. We were concerned that as an investment we were too outside of what was popular within the startup and venture-capital community (mobile, social, cloud).
During this period we constantly had to explain to friends and family, and other random people we would meet out and about, what we were “starting up.”
So we told our story and about how great startups are and how exciting it was to be in the ideation phase. We would list some of our newest “investment candidates” and also some of the ideas that we had decided NOT to do, i.e. the FixMeStick.
9 times out of 10 IF the person was NOT an industry insider, they would cut us off with “I love that FixMeStick idea, I need one of those”.
What prompted the decision to appear on Dragons’ Den? And what was that experience like?
Marty: Our appearance on Dragons’ Den was instrumental to our growth. We were nervous to go on Dragons’ Den, and we share some of the stereotypes typical of many software engineers, i.e. we’re not natural promoters or marketers – but going on Dragons’ Den very much proved to us that if we don’t build awareness for our products no one will.
FixMeTip: We appeared on Dragons’ Den not once, but twice! Our most recent appearance with the Dragons was definitely one for the books. You can read up on it here!
As time has gone by, have your goals with FixMeStick changed at all?
Corey: Sure they have. When we started the company our primary goal was to survive. We’re 10 years old now and clearly survived the tenuous start-up phase. We’re now more focused on building an environment and team that will deliver on each of our customer promises, and in doing so can realize their 10-year goals.
We’ve definitely come a long way over the past 10 years. While the FixMeStick is still the world’s leading virus-removal device, we’ve since introduced the StartMeStick as well! At the end of the day, we’ve only managed to get so far because of our awesome customers. We can’t thank YOU enough!
How long have you been with FixMeStick for? Let us know in the comments below!