acquired by Websense, 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?

Dex goes on the road – Social and Personal CRM

Dex, a new social CRM application from MercuryGrove is doing a roadshow for the next few weeks to demo their release and spread the word.

I have been excited about Dex since Mercury Rising was announced.

This has been such a great, collaborative journey that we decided the best way to tell people about dex was to go tell people about dex. So we’re packing up our best suits, dressing dex up really nice, and taking her on the road to tell people about our development experience, show them the final result (beta), and hopefully get a lot of great feedback that we can jam into the first release!

Here is the schedule:

  • Toronto – Tuesday, January 20th @ CSI
  • Ottawa – Wednesday, January 21st @ The Code Factory
  • Montreal – Thursday, January 22nd
  • New York – Monday, January 26th @ New Work City
  • Boston – Wednesday, January 28th @ BetaHouse
  • Philadelphia – Thursday, January 29th, 6pm @ Indy Hall

Weekend Reading – January 17, 2009

Nuclear WinterIn the News:
Rypple in the Economist.

Idee in Entertainment Weekly.

And LoyaltyMatch on Fox. founder Ali Asaria interviewed for Allentrepreneur.

Warming your heart this Nuclear Winter:
FreshBooks’ CEO on Distribution 2.0 Winners & Losers.

Wellington Financial topped up their Fund III with $25M for a total $150M.
And, Wellington’s Mark McQueen continues to hilariously rail on the fund run by Kevin O’Leary of Dragon’s Den.

First Round Capital held Office Hours in Vancouver this week. Any reports?

Mark MacLeod says Just do it!

b5media’s CEO Jeremy Wright took a IZEA (PayPerPost) Coke Zero offer. More paid posts to appear on b5 blogs?

Why your web startup will fail! vs Why your startup will succeed!

Netshelter raised $11M from Rho, GrowthWorks, and JLA.

8 companies were funded by the Investment Accelerator Fund including: C2C Link, Echologics, IPeak Networks, Kneebone, Regen Energy, Skymeter, Nulogy, and Sysmos. What a great way to start 2009!

Check out the StartupNorth Calendar for upcoming events in your city. Montreal ical feed is acting up, but we are working on it!