13 Sep Green Bay entrepreneur launches new message filtering solution
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The war against computer viruses and spam has no end in sight, but help is on the way from a software products and services company based in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Anti-spam company Solinus announced last week the availability of a new version of its e-mail filtering solution, MailFoundry Network Appliance, which is powered by its MessageIQ Engine.
The company claims that with no human intervention the new product can catch 99 percent of incoming spam while delivering less than one in 1 million false positives, or legitimate e-mail categorized as spam. The firm claims their solution is as effective as Symantec’s BrightMail, but at a 25 to 50 percent lower cost.
Solinus was founded in 1999 by serial Green Bay entrepreneur David Troup, still the CEO, whose employees call him the “Steve Jobs of Green Bay.”
The company was spun out of DCT Technologies, which Troup started in 1991 as a consulting and software services company. He started Green Bay Online in 1994 as an internet service provider, Troup says that company debuted the first Web-based e-mail system in 1995. He sold it in 2002.
In 1995 Troup also founded Digital Magic, now known as DM Interactive, a Web development company with high-profile clients including NFL, Foot Locker and Sun Microsystems. His company created the Green Bay Packers’ first Web site in 1997 and still maintains it. He also founded Space Explorers Inc. in 1996 as a space-based education company and sold his interest in 1998 to focus on Solinus.
MailFoundry was originally developed for HostMail, another company Troup launched to provide e-mail services for data centers, Internet service providers and other businesses. He launched that company for less than $250,000 and now says the product is available in 13 languages and has thousands of customers in 19 countries.
“We created MailFoundry in eight weeks, an amazing fact given the complexity of e-mail and anti-spam filtering systems,” Troup said.
The company has a team of dedicated developers and engineers who work around the clock to identify new spam and update customers’ systems every five minutes in order to maintain high levels of network protection, he said.
Solinus has integrated a new quarantine system that stores, digests and sends users a report so that they can delete or release messages. The latest version also integrates a new anti-virus engine that identifies and removes threats from embedded messages and attachments.
“Human intelligence takes the burden off the administrator or end-user as it does the legwork at the source of message entry,” Troup said. “Mail Foundry is a fire-and-forget product in terms of not needing administration tweaking for it to be 100 percent effective.”
Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin, deployed MailFoundry almost two years ago when the faculty and students were beginning to be inundated with spam. The IT department learned about Solinus from Professor Gerald L. Isaacs, who was so bothered by the problem he referred them to Troup, an alumnus of the college.
John Arechavala, the network systems manager, said the college receives over 250,000 messages per month and has reduced spam by over 95 percent, blocking thousands of messages a day, since installing MailFoundry. “It was the first IT product that I installed that has lived up to the hype.” he said. “We installed it and it was functioning in less than two hours. I have never looked back.”
Solinus also offers a hosted solution called Inbox Genius for small or mid-size companies that do not have the resources to install and manage the hardware-based appliance. The company plans to update that offering with the new MessageIQ Engine and improved virus protection before the year’s end.
Wingra Technologies, a Madison-based company that helps businesses migrate from one e-mail system to another, uses InBox Genius. In September 2003, the company was battling 1,500 spam messages per day with only 100 legitimate e-mails intended for its users.
“We were in a mode where our employees spent the first part of their day eliminating spam,” Entine said. According to Wingra’s management, Wingra has reduced spam by over 90 percent with only two false positives in eight months.
Inbox Genius costs $9.95 per month for 10 users.
Solinus is privately financed company with 10 employees and says they have dramticaly increased sales in the past year. They sell direct to customers, but are looking to attract value-added resellers. Last week the company began to launch an aggressive “go to market” program, Troup said.
The MailFoundry Network Appliance costs $2,995 plus an annual subscription and can handle 10 to 10,000 mailboxes. The appliance is based on Sun hardware, but the company plans to migrate to more common platforms in the near future.
Explaining why he based his company in Wisconsin, Troup said, “We like it here and develop software while not being on our competitors’ radar.”