The news that Toronto’s Fixmo has received an investment from Samsung Venture Investments appears to signal not just a vote of confidence in Fixmo, which specializes in security software, but also a backhanded endorsement of BlackBerry’s strengths in advance of the release of BlackBerry 10.
That’s because Fixmo, while not exactly a RIM spinoff, has the imprint of the BlackBerry maker all over it, with many of its top people having spent considerable time at 295 Phillip Street.
Fixmo’s Chief MRM Architect, Jonas Gyllensvaan, founded Conceivieum Business Solutions, Inc., which specialized in the development and marketing of BlackBerry mobile platform management solutions, before moving to Fixmo. And Fixmo’s Chief Marketing Officer, Tyler Lessard, was once Vice President of BlackBerry Global Alliances and Developer Relations at RIM, again specializing in nurturing the BlackBerry ecosystem by launching BlackBerry App World. Lee Cocking, Fixmo’s VP of Corporate Strategy, spent a decade working at RIM where he managed core components of the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution.
Fixmo is part of the inevitable trickledown effect RIM will no doubt continue to have in Waterloo, but it’s no wanting startup. The company’s security software is already well established with government and business clientele, as well as the relatively burgeoning BYOD enterprise market. Its all-star roster of investors includes Kleiner Perkins, Paladin Capital, Horizons Ventures, RHO Canada, and iNovia.
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Now the South Korean conglomerate is looking to capitalize on Fixmo’s expertise to tighten the substantial lead RIM still enjoys in the enterprise market.
“Samsung is getting very serious about taking on RIM in their own backyard, in government and enterprise,” Fixmo co-founder and CEO Rick Segal said plainly of the investment. Segal says the investment was made in exchange for a “small” equity stake in the company.
“Samsung Venture Investment Corporation aligns with innovative companies that demonstrate potential strategic fit with Samsung,” said Hyuk-Jeen Suh, Senior Investment Manager with Samsung Ventures America. “Secure enterprise mobility, BYOD and personal privacy protection are some of the most important and exciting areas in the telecommunications market. Fixmo is poised to deliver next-generation solutions that help IT departments, business professionals and consumers remain secure and protected while embracing the next wave of mobility technology trends.”
Segal himself was part of the original team at JLA Ventures that invested in the BlackBerry Partners Fund, which was designed to support developers working on the BlackBerry.
Samsung, meanwhile has parlayed hits such as the Galaxy SIII into a 32.5% share of the smartphone market, far ahead of second place Apple, which now has 14%.