Why is this important?
For starters, I was Defensio’s first big user. Carl Mercier (founder of Defensio) asked me to help him early on with beta testing of their anti-spam plugin on this blog because of how much spam I was getting. I was happy to oblige. But more importantly:
- Defensio is Canadian. Defensio is actually Montreal-based (or pretty close to it) so I think the entire Montreal startup / tech community celebrates these kinds of victories. We don’t see a lot of exits (although another Montreal-based startup, Reasonably Smart was also recently acquired by Joyent, and Oz was recently bought by Nokia.)
- Defensio didn’t raise Venture Capital. Mark MacLeod calls it the era of small exits and I think he’s right – at least for companies that haven’t raised significant dollars (or any at all.) If you can exit for a few million dollars and you’ve only raised a couple hundred thousand, everyone wins. No one’s buying a small Island in the Caribbean, but it’s still a win. It’s important to realize though, that even if you don’t raise money (or only raise a small amount of angel money) you still need to orchestrate the exit; just because you’re going for a smaller exit doesn’t mean it’s so much easier or happens automatically. I think there’s a future blog post in there…
- Defensio wasn’t first, but it worked well. Defensio wasn’t first to the anti-spam market, nor were they first to implement anti-spam blog plugins — so you don’t need to be first, being a copycat startup has its advantages, but you do need to stand out and have unique value that’s clearly differentiated.
I continue to use Defensio and find it works very well. I enjoyed working with Carl through the beta / development process, and wish him (and the entire Defensio team) best wishes and tons of luck for the future.
(Incidentally, Carl claims “the cheque is in the mail” for being their 1st big user … but I’m not convinced. *grin*)