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One of the challenges with early stage companies is determining whether the thing you are creating is a “feature”, a “product”, or a “company”. Of course everyone aspires to create “a company” and most business plans eloquently describe the $50 million company that is going to be created in five years. Since that rarely occurs, early stage VCs are constantly asking “is that a feature, product, or a company?”
When Raj Bhargava and his co-founders came up with the original idea for Quova, it was unclear whether IP geolocation was the basis for a feature, product, or company. In the first few years of Quova’s life, we spent most of our time inventing the IP geolocation technology, getting some early customers, and evangelizing why IP geolocation mattered. After a couple of years, it was clear that IP geolocation (and Quova) was “a product”, but it wasn’t clear whether or not we had created something that had big enough reach to be classified as “a company.”
Last week, Quova announced their “next-generation suite of geolocation solutions.” In my book, Quova has graduated into “company” territory – based on the breadth of their product line, the rapid increase in relevance of their products / technologies, their revenue ramp, their dominance of their market segment, and the growth of their customer base. The Quova product suite consists of four primary products – Quova Secure, Quova Compliance, Quova Marketing, and Quova Media. These products are all based on the core Quova IP geolocation technology, but are packaged in different ways to address specific customer needs and include additional data, software, and professional services to address the specific customer need.
The evolution from feature to product to company is hard (and often not achieved) – it’s especially rewarding to see it happen with a company like Quova that was funded in 1999 by a patient set of investors that held steady through the Internet crash with the belief that Quova was onto something meaningful. 2005 has been a strong growth year for Quova and with this product suite release the company is extremely well positioned and focused for additional rapid growth and an exciting time in 2006.