I bet you didn’t know that when you’re spending time surfing the web at your local coffee shop, you could in fact be jeopardizing the privacy and security of your personal computer. What if you had a USB key that you could carry with you anywhere and use on any computer, a key that guaranteed a secure and private session?
It just so happens that one of our Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) portfolio companies provides just that. SurfEasy offers an easy-to-use solution for protecting your online privacy, security and freedom on any computer or network. And as the name suggests, using SurfEasy is easy: just plug the SurfEasy USB key into a computer, enter your personal password, and your very own private and secure web browser opens.
All of your browsing traffic is secured in an SSL-encrypted tunnel, ensuring that no one can monitor, restrict or block access to your favourite sites like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.
SurfEasy launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2012. I had the pleasure of being in the trade show booth with the management team to experience first hand the excitement in people’s eyes over the simplicity of secure, anonymous browsing through a USB key. Just six months since their launch, SurfEasy now has customers in 52 countries!
The IAF invested in September 2011, enabling SurfEasy to launch a commercial-ready product, hire a development team and round out their senior management team.
Since the IAF’s investment, SurfEasy:
- Launched on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform, raising $69,000 off a goal of $12,500
- Commercially launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2012
- Aired on TV shopping in the United States with HSN and sold out in 10 minutes
- Received similar success in Canada with The Shopping Channel
- Received media attention in USA Today, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, CTV, CBC News and Yahoo! The Yahoo! Shopping article by Marc Saltzman covering SurfEasy generated over one million views, resulting in significant direct sales on the SurfEasy website.
The company will soon be announcing a number of distributor and retailer partnerships across North America, so you will begin to see the SurfEasy product on shelves in electronics stores over the next few months.
The SurfEasy investment checked all the boxes on the IAF investment criteria:
- Large global market opportunity
- Scalable revenue model
- Disruptive and protected intellectual property
- Strong management team
- Efficient use of capital
To find out more about the IAF, our investment focus and investees, visit our webpage or follow us on Twitter @MaRSIAF.
Laura Lenz is an Investment Director with the Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF). She is currently on the board of pVelocity and an observer on the board of CrowdCare, FutureStateIT, Jibestream, Shopcaster and SurfEasy. Previous investee companies are RapidMind (acquired by Intel), Rypple (acquired by Saleforce.com), and Varicent (acquired by IBM). See more…