A laptop computer.
Some 45% of poor Israeli households did not have a computer as of 2011. Photo by Dreamstime.com
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Fixico’s vision is simple: No update prompts, no lagging due to bloatware and above all, no viruses or other malicious software. The Israeli company’s program sits quietly in your computer and takes care of all that and more, automatically.
“Big companies have all kinds of tools to make sure their desktop computers are kept up to date and performing well, ” says Fixico CEO and cofounder Alex Varshavsky. Ordinary users are often less knowledgeable. “The most people usually use is an anti-virus program.”

Fixico originated from a group inside an IBM spin-off. BigFix is used by information technology teams to manage a corporation’s computers. Fixico acquired a component of this software from IBM and added Trend Micro’s antivirus program and a registry cleaner to create “one simple solution” aimed at individual users. 

Fixico can automatically update core programs like Java and Flash, which otherwise rely on pop-ups to prompt the user. “Obviously you can update your programs yourself, but not every user knows how to do this, and we also ensure that the software is in order and won’t damage your computer,” Varshavsky says. “Fixico also has tools to defragment your disk in order to consolidate files, to block content inappropriate for minors and a feature for remote access, so that you can manage all your computers from a distance.”

All this happens in the background without the computer hassling you with questions, he says. The Fixico system also times itself to avoid interfering with your daily work.

Fixico’s technology is cloud-based. In effect, only one small element of the software is located on your computer. The brains are located on the company’s remote servers. The company promises that after installing the program, your computer will work faster: “Regular clean up and maintenance of your computer will make it faster and easier to use,” Fixico’s website says.

What next? Fixico is developing a tool to remove unwanted third-party toolbars, installed on your computer’s Internet browser by websites. “A lot of people today suffer from two things: One is the toolbars that control the browsers, and the second is that some program or another will do a search-engine hijack, and instead of getting Google’s results, people get results from some company they aren’t familiar with. This is something we’re really working on right now.”

The company also aims to shorten boot times, so your computer is ready to roll soon after you turn it on. For older computers, especially, boot times can be quite long. Fixico is also plans working on mobile version of its products, for cellphones and other mobile device.

There’s both a free and a premium version. A free 90-day trial is available for the latter version; after that the cost is $5 a month per computer.

That’s not cheap, and Varshavsky acknowledges that the company’s main challenge will be to convince people to pay that much each month. On the other hand, small businesses with only a few employees and no IT “babysitters” will find the price attractive, he says, adding that such businesses generally spend $5 a month on anti-virus software alone.

Fixico received an initial investment of $1.2 million from a Russian-Israeli family in Kfar Shmaryahu, where the company is based. It currently has four employees. The company is trying to raise additional funds via Barak Gilboa Finance, a company that specializes in helping technology ventures raise capital.

“We’re currently installed on thousands of computers,” Varshavsky said. “The program has versions in English and Russian, and we want to expand to the United States and to Russia.”

Fixico’s product resembles that of another Israeli company, Soluto, which was sold to the U.S. firm Asurion last year for $130 million.