For most of us, a computer that breaks down is an irritating problem. In the case of Zak Dechovich, the breakdown of a computer was actually the impetus that inspired him to found his start-up Reimage Inc..
It all began when Dechovich's sister asked him to help when her computer broke down. "She had a problem with the computer and she asked me to help. I found myself doing the repair manually, but the problem when it came to the software and smart applications, was that there was no effective and automatic way to check or repair them.
"In essence, the repair itself isn't the problem. The more difficult task is to locate the problem. What a computer technician does is spend hours looking for the problem, which then takes just a few minutes to repair. This was what gave us the idea to set up a company which would mechanize the world of computer repairs."
A year and half after it was launched, Reimage unveiled its product, a "software as service" (SAS) program which repairs computers, but focuses on the software and applications rather than the hardware itself. The software is now able to promptly repair faults in Windows XP systems and Microsoft Media Centers, and all their related software applications.
Dechovich notes that almost anyone who owns a computer has experienced the trauma of having his machine either stop operating, run slowly, or even worse, break down altogether at least once. "It nearly always happens at the most inopportune time. Computer technicians are busy people, and what's worse, they always look like they don't know what they're doing. Repairing a computer can take a lot of time and, of course, costs a lot of money.
"In most cases, having failed to pinpoint the specific problem, the most painful part of all is the technician's diagnosis. 'It needs reformatting,' is what he will say. A diagnosis like this will mean the loss of computer data such as pictures and files - unless there's a back-up. And between you and me, who ever bothers making a back-up? We offer a solution that is cheap and quicker."
Reimage aims to solve the painful problem of lagging systems with the help of its technology, whose basic approach is that software malfunctions occur as a result of either a lack of, or a surplus of, components. For the purpose of illustration, what the software does is test the system and reorganize the software, meaning it dispenses with the surplus components and retrieves those that are missing. Dechovich says that Reimage's process takes around 20 minutes, following which the computer works normally again, eliminating the need for the painful reformatting.
Globes: Which market are you targeting?
Dechovich:"The computer technicians market. It might not sound terribly sexy, but there are two million computer technicians worldwide, who earn, on average, $50,000 a year. Their goal is to repair computers in minimum time and with maximum quality. We offer them a tool that will help them do this."
"This is a market worth $16 billion a year, in which the work is carried out manually by people who don't undergo any training, mostly because there isn't any. Furthermore, there are no companies in the field that offer repair software. Our problem is the cognitive dissonance at work here - people who have been accustomed to working with their heads in the wall for 20 years, find it difficult to change habits."
Dechovich is an entrepreneur with a background in technology. During his military service in the IDF he founded and headed the IDF Cyber Crime/Terror unit, and focused on the development of network-based surveillance systems. He later founded and managed software virtualization company SecureOL.
According to Dechovich, "Reimage's software repaired 4,200 computers during the beta trials, and we are now fixing 100 computers a day. We target the major repair companies and offer them a four-fold or six-fold improvement in performance. They like the idea, since they look at the bottom line. It would be harder for us to sell our software to personal users."
According to Dechovich, Reimage already has a working product and paying customers. The company has managed to penetrate the market thanks to its selection in May by international service franchising group Computer Troubleshooters as a preferred vendor, with similar endorsements from companies in Israel, the US, Canada, and several European countries.
Reimage has survived until now on the $2.6 million in investment from US venture capital fund Crossbar Capital, and it is currently holding its first funding round, with the aim of taking the company one step forward, or as Dechovich puts it, "to sign more contracts and continue development."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 16, 2008
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