What your mom used to do for your room when you were a kid, Fixico now does for your computer, quietly keeping things clean and orderly.
Download the Israeli startup’s “agent” on your computer, and you no longer have to worry about installing updates, trashing junk files, defragging and managing antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-adware programs.
All of that is taken care of continuously by this virtual “IT guy” at a cost of zero to $3 per month, depending on the plan chosen.
Fixico built its product through a licensing partnership with IBM, adapting the tried-and-true IBM Endpoint Management product as a service for small-scale needs. In fact, Fixico is the first company ever contracted to deliver IBM technology to private consumers.
“We are a bunch of people who worked at IBM [Israel] in a previous life, and we took our knowledge from IBM and its product to make it simpler and available to the masses,” says CEO Alex Varshavsky. “The development is ours, but they provide services such as PC updates. Since they are behind the scenes, we don’t run into crashing problems.”
The target market is people who have a few computers at home, as well as small companies that have up to 10 computers and cannot hire their own IT manager.
Varshavsky estimates that Fixico can take care of more than 80 percent of common computer concerns, using not more than 2 percent of a computer’s CPU and 15 megabytes of RAM.
The company began sales last year and has thousands of customers in the United States and Israel. As sales in Europe get underway, Fixico is seeking investments beyond the $2 million it has raised from an angel investor.
From the time you plug in a new computer and start installing programs, you produce virtual garbage that mucks up your machine. Maintenance is a must for keeping the computer fast and clean, but nobody enjoys taking care of this task and many don’t even know how.
Varshavsky tells ISRAEL21c that Fixico’s goal is to make computer maintenance effortless. “There are tools for cleaning and for installing antivirus updates, for removing popups and toolbars, but we provide all this via 24/7 automatic maintenance. As the end user or administrator, you don’t need to understand terms like ‘registry’ and ‘defrag’ and what to do if you find a virus. Just click a button and it works by itself, notifying you what the system did and how many hours it saved you.”
Recently, Fixico introduced a new application you can put on your smartphone or tablet, enabling you to see the location your subscribed computer(s) and delete or add applications remotely. “If you have children, you can see what they’re doing on the device and where, and you can even control it.”
You can manage multiple computers from one screen, and the agent schedules maintenance jobs so they will not interfere with normal computer activities, even while it scans the system for problems such as malware and viruses.
Varshavsky says that Fixico’s IBM patch management technology keeps computers updated with the latest security patches to prevent cyber-criminals from exploiting security holes. He emphasizes that the patches are tested before they are deployed in order to prevent fiascos such as Microsoft’s “Blue Screen of Death Patch” that crashed so many PCs a couple of years ago.
Users may choose a default set of maintenance tasks or customize Fixico to their individual needs, such as filtering out adult content and social media.
The company employs a lean team of five developers, outsourcing everything from graphic design to sales and marketing. They work out of a house in Kfar Shmaryahu, where they can use the backyard swimming pool and even take power naps during the workday, as a Channel 2 news team discovered when it came to see what goes on at Fixico.
As for cyber safety, “Some people are concerned that a hacker could ride on the coattails of our agent to invade a computer,” Varshavsky told The Times of Israel. “That hasn’t happened yet, but in today’s connected world it could happen with any cloud app. People use apps like DropBox all the time, and in my opinion we are a lot more secure than they are.”
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