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When I first met up with the team at Qurb (pronounced "curb"), I have to admit that I didn't think the world needed another anti-spam product. Not that the spam problem has been fundamentally and finally solved. But with dozens of products and services in the market, it simply seemed an improbable bet for an aspiring start-up. This start-up, though, was different.
I'd first met the founders in 1997 when they were just building what was to become AvantGo. Felix Lin, Linus Upson, and Dave Moore were among the very first entrepreneurs to see opportunity in the emerging Palm economy. Their product, which enabled Web sites to deliver content to Palm devices, became widely used and AvantGo rode the Bubble to a successful IPO.
The AvantGo experience has paid off mightily as Qurb seeks to win the day in the anti-spam category. Not insignificantly, the success of the AvantGo IPO has enabled the trio to finance Qurb without institutional venture capital. (Few things make VCs more interested in a deal than telling them you don't need their money. When I checked in with Upson last week, he told me the company regularly turns away cold-calling VCs.) According to Upson, the company is ahead of plan and on track to be cash-flow positive by the end of the year.
That financial success is supported by a product that is meeting with critical success with the media and with customers. PC Magazine recently named Qurb its Editor's Choice in side-by-side testing of anti-spam software. And the Qurb team finds that it is able to go in behind Brightmail implementations to sell the Qurb client software as part of a "belt and suspenders" approach to spam fighting.
The AvantGo experience has no doubt also helped Qurb to move quickly. In just 9 months, the 1.0 product has been localized to 10 languages to reach global customers. The software uses a sender-verifying white list technique to instantly stop 100 percent of unwanted mail before it hits your in box. Qurb is further designed to protect against domain spoofing that has allowed malicious spammers to masquerade as legitimate senders. It's this latter feature that has helped Qurb leverage content providers as distributors of the software.
The company has found willing affiliates in content providers who want to protect their brands and demonstrate good email citizenship by providing an anti-spam solution to their readers. The benefit to Qurb: significant distribution. The benefit to content providers (many of whom were customer relationships forged at AvantGo): assure their mail reaches their customers and get a commission on each sale in the process.
Today, Qurb introduced Qurb 2.0, which is tightly integrated with Outlook and Outlook Express (the latter being no small feat and a unique selling proposition for the software). The Outlook Express compatibility is the saving grace for the not-so-small army of POP mail services, and opens up tremendous distribution opportunities with ISPs. The clean integration makes the product near-fool-proof for even novice users. The new version is available for a 30-day free trial at
. After the trial, the online purchase price is just $29.95.
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DEMO 2004: CALL FOR DEMONSTRATORS
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DEMO is known coast to coast as the premier event that reveals the products and services poised to have the greatest impact on the technology landscape in the year to come. Each year, the nation's top technology executives, venture investors, journalists, and analysts converge at DEMO to preview and understand the emerging products and technologies that are impacting their market segments.
The search is on for the 75 products that will be honored as the most significant technology introductions of 2004. These carefully selected products enjoy the benefit of media attention, investor inquiry, and the imprimatur of the elite DEMO status.
If you are working on technology worthy of the DEMO platform, go to
and click on "Launch at DEMO." Applications are being accepted through October.
February 15 - 17, 2004
Westin Kierland Resort
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Kontiki is announcing today new Business Media Services and the 3.0 version of its Delivery Management Solution -- key components that customers Autodesk, E&Y, and Palm are using to deploy business video internally and on customer-facing Web sites. Kontiki has evolved tremendously since the company launched to great fanfare a couple of years ago. Then, the company got dragged into the P2P debate that it was never really a part of. Now, Kontiki has a clean and convincing ROI story and the sparks to jumpstart broader use of business video. . . It's been a busy week for former DEMO conference demonstrators. Fresh from DEMOmobile 2003, Ispiri has decided to change the company's name to be eponymous with its debut product, the Mirra personal digital media server. . . DEMO alum Tira Wireless has signed on Chris Erickson as the company's new president and CEO. Erickson's first order of business is to raise the wireless apps company's series B investment. . . And speaking of fundraising, Euclid, a DEMO 2003 company, announced last week that it had closed $8 million in follow-on funding. . . Boingo, the aggregator of WiFi networks, completed its series B financing with a $10 million round. . . SOMA Networks announced a customer relationship with Montana telecom provider 3 Rivers Communications. The telco will use SOMA Networks broadband wireless access technology to extend voice and high-speed data connectivity to rural communities.
Chris Shipley is the executive producer of NetworkWorld's DEMO Conferences, Editor of DEMOletter and a technology industry analyst for nearly 20 years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Shipley, has covered the personal technology business since 1984 and is regarded as one of the top analysts covering the technology industry today. Shipley has worked as a writer and editor for variety of technology consumer magazines, including PC Week, PC Magazine, PC/Computing, and InfoWorld, US Magazine and Working Woman. She has written two books on communications and Internet technology, has won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, and was named the #1 newsletter editor by Marketing Computers for two years in a row. To subscribe to DEMOletter please visit: http://www.idgexecforums.com/demoletter/index.html
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