Defensio.com, who we first wrote about in November 2007, are announcing today that they have been acquired by Websense. The Montreal based company also presented at StartupCamp Toronto in December 2007.
This acquisition, the size of which is undisclosed but I am assured it is “significant”, send a few signals to the startup community. The biggest one is that things are still happening even in this “nuclear winter” as some are calling it, and more importantly: Good products and businesses are still worth something.
When Defensio launched, I took some flak for endorsing them. A lot of people said that “akismet does that”, and it was true, Akismet did do a lot of the same things. In using the service it was noticibly better. I am planning on going back to them.
Carl also assures me that the Defensio anti-spam service for comments on non-commercial blogs will remain free under their new parent company.
Websense remains committed to the Defensio developer community and plans to support and enhance the platform for personal users, as well as for commercial use. The company also plans to continue to offer the comment spam filter at no charge for personal use, while offering a new six month commercial trial at no cost. “The combination of Defensio and Websense is a coup for Web 2.0 developers looking for strong anti-spam and security capabilities,” said Carl Mercier, who founded Defensio and has joined Websense as director of software development. “Imagine if Web 2.0 developers could access an API so their applications could determine if user-generated content is malicious or unwanted – without having to embed anything in their applications or products. We see strong potential to partner with social networking platforms, enterprises and hosting providers to enable advanced Web 2.0 security with the Defensio solution.”
When I profiled defensio in 2007 I said that while they might take a run at Akismet’s main business (blog comments), their real opportunity is to find new markets for these collaborative anti-spam tools. That is just what they have done and it is where Websense sees the future of the tool. Websense offers a suite of security and content related tools and Defensio looks like a perfect fit.
If Defensio can provide a higher level of integration support and a better protection product, then they will be able to win some customers over from Akismet, but it is absolutely going to be a hard-fought battle, with everyone trying to row the boat a little harder in order to win.
The real opportunity for Defensio however is to raid the markets that Akismet has left untouched. Where Akismet has proven the technology, and opened an initial market which Defensio can sell to, they are also leaving peripheral markets completely alone. – 2007
The team at Defensio deserve credit for a win and a good start to 2009 for the Montreal community and Canada in general.
There are rumors of more great announcements to come, pehaps 2009 won’t be so bad afterall?