Invizbox: Edward Snowden revelations inspired Irish startup to launch new wi-fi security device
Dublin-based start-up company, Invizbox, is in search of €100,000 as it aims to nail down the wi-fi protection market.
Set up by Skerries couple Paul and Elizabeth Canavan, and their Rush-based friend Chris Monks, Invizbox is in the process of developing its second web protection product, the Invizbox Go.
The product aims to protect customers from hackers when using unsecured networks. It also acts as a wi-fi extender, portable battery, ad blocker and virtual private network (VPN) service.
Co-founder Paul Canavan said that the product was devised to protect people when they connect to public wi-fi networks.
"Mobile networks are relatively secure," he said. "So the connection between you and your mobile network is reasonably secure. But if you start using other wi-fi, especially public wi-fi, you are adjusting into an absolute cesspool of a network.
"Public wi-fi is really, desperately, horribly insecure and when you're out and about we all use public wi-fi from time to time," he continued.
Canavan said that he hopes the company will scale up to employ 20 people over the next three years.
"We're looking to hire two people straight away," he said. "That would bring us up to five. Once we start moving into more traditional sales channels we will look to sell in places like airports. It's when people are going on holidays that people would buy something like this to keep them secure."
Canavan also said that the company will soon look to recruit people in engineering and sales roles.
He said that the company is exploring several routes to market for Invizbox. These include coming pre-loaded on a router or as a downloadable mobile app.
"There is potential to add an app on your phone," he said. "One of the things I definitely see potential in is adding it into the router that comes as standard from your internet service provider, like Eir. So your router would come with Invizbox inside."
While the Invizbox Go is currently in early production stages, Canavan claims that it will deliver 10 hours of battery life with normal use and five hours with "aggressive" use.
The company has raised €56,000 on crowd-funding site Kickstarter so far. It has a goal of €100,000, said Canavan.
The new product comes a year after the company released its first product, the original Invizbox. The company also used a crowdfunding campaign to finance the product's development, raising $20,000 on IndieGoGo.
Canavan said that the original Invizbox sold 1,000 units.
"We knew there was a market for security after the whole Snowden revelation thing," he said.
Enterprise Ireland has identified Invizbox as a high-potential start-up and has granted it €15,000 in funding for a feasibility study.
"We have been given a dedicated mentor within Enterprise Ireland," said Canavan. "They help us out with getting access to funding, getting our business plan ready, getting ourselves ready for seeking external funding and getting access to that external funding."