Chilean software developer company Fork expects its client base to grow 500% this year on the back of surging demand for its security software Prey, which can track stolen devices, company co-founder and CEO Tomás Pollak told BNamericas.
The open-source software employs GPS or WiFi geo-positioning to enable victimized laptop and mobile device owners to find out what the thief looks like, what he is doing on the device and where he is located.
According to the executive, the solution has been implemented mainly by enterprises, schools and universities in the US and Europe, as well as locally in Chile. For example, Fork has a contract with a university in the US to remotely monitor more than 400 computers.
"But we have also recently won a tender in Chile to install Prey on more than 40,000 computers for the education ministry. We are also taking part in other tenders around [Latin America], as well as in Spain," Pollak said.
Prey runs on Linux, as well as on Mac and Windows operating systems.
According to Pollak, when the first cases of stolen devices were reported to police in Chile, they could not understand how anyone was able to have all this information, such as the thief's picture and the device's location. "The police used to ask if the computer had a GPS chip inside."
Nowadays the reception is "very positive," especially with the police and judges. And Prey has been legally accepted as evidence in theft investigations to recover computers and mobile phones, the executive said. "It's a credible product - both in Chile and abroad. We have high recovery rates worldwide."
Fork's other product, Bootic, is a platform to set up online business where the client pays a monthly fee for the "shop rental." The platform can also implement the payment system of the client's choosing, like WebPay, PayPal or Dinero Mail.
Fork, founded in 2008, was legally set up in Hong Kong because it was commercially unfeasible on the domestic front. "Charging our clients' credit cards is impossible to do from Chile as the only credit card payment system, Transbank, is not developed enough to deal with the transactions," said Pollak.