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The Virus Eraser success story

Most of us thought about opening our own business at least once in our lives. Some of us tried to do so. But it’s failure rather than prosperity in most circumstances as it’s not easy to become a successful businessman… Or is it?

We’ve spoken to Mr. William Ragusa, the co-owner of Virus Eraser, Inc., an Antivirus software company from the East Coast. He kindly shared his story about running a successful business with us.

Mr. William Ragusa

At 53 started his own Antivirus software company

One morning my wife Victoria came to me at morning coffee and said: “You have to open your own Antivirus Software and call it Virus Eraser”. She had a dream that night and knew that I was looking to do this idea. She pushed it along by my side.

A few words about William and his company: Mr. William Ragusa, of 55 years, was born in Brooklyn, NY. He received his Computer Science Degree at the State University of New York at Oneonta. After working in the IT field since 1979, he started his own Antivirus software company in 2014.

Virus Eraser, Inc. is operated by Mr. Ragusa and his partner, Mr. Steve Solodoff. The Virus Eraser software delivers powerful, actionable protection and is backed by a world-class support team and call centers across the world. The company is working under the Co-branding agreement with Zillya!, an Antivirus software development company from Ukraine. The partnership with Zillya! allowed Mr. Ragusa to save money and he started selling his software almost immediately.




Mr. Ragusa, how did you find out about Co-branding?

I’ve been in the Information Technology field for so many years, pretty much my entire life.




Why did you decide to go for Co-branding, not other types of making software (like writing the code of the software from scratch or buying source codes of other antivirus products)?

Your brand,Marketing poicy,developing the sotware

Simply because it was faster, cheaper and it was the ease of use.

Mr. Ragusa chose Co-Branding as a path to his success. There are 5 key positives of Co-Branding:

  • You get a ready-to use software product;
  • It’s easy to re-brand the product;
  • The pricing and marketing policy is for you to decide.
  • You don’t have to develop the software;
  • You don’t have to worry about Quality Assurance

How did you find out about Zillya!?

I went through a lot of companies. To be frank with you, I didn’t like how things were and working with Olga (Olga Yankovenko, business development manager at Zillya!) helped me get through where we are. Olga facilitated everything very perfectly for me to understand where was I getting myself into. I liked all the terms and here we are.




Can you tell us what was the process of signing a Co-branding agreement with Zillya! like?

It was all about communication, simple as that.




What was your starting budget? Did you take a bank loan to open Virus Eraser?

Our initial budget was around $25 000. We’ve invested our own money, without having to take any bank loans.




And what is the company’s capital now?

It’s around $1 200 000.

How many employees did you have when starting Virus Eraser?How many employees did you have when starting Virus Eraser?

My overhead was very little at the beginning and I felt that I didn’t need many employees. I think we’ve grown half by now - I have about 20 employees here on the East Coast and another 8 on the West Coast. We have just two offices.




How did you find out about Zillya!?

I went through a lot of companies. To be frank with you, I didn’t like how things were and working with Olga (Olga Yankovenko, business development manager at Zillya!) helped me get through where we are. Olga facilitated everything very perfectly for me to understand where was I getting myself into. I liked all the terms and here we are.



How did you build a successful customer base?

Working with affiliates and partners.



How did you advertise your product?

I started out with Google, then we started out with Bing (a web search engine owned and operated by Microsoft) and then we moved over to Facebook and Twitter. We have 32 000 followers on Facebook and around 1500 followers on Twitter. Twitter is a little bit harder to advertise on than Facebook but we’re slowly but surely growing. Besides, everything that comes through Facebook – comes through me.






How much time has passed before you sold your first Virus Eraser license?

We opened our business on the 17th of December, 2014. We had a rough start but it was only because of communication between myself and Olga’s development team. We actually sold our first Virus Eraser in February 2015, although the product turned out to be broken so we had to fix it and we lost around three weeks because it had to go back into the shop. It was tough going but we went through all the obstacles together.



How did you build a successful customer base?

We went from red to black in only three months.



How much time has passed before you sold your first Virus Eraser license?

It was dealing with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Simply because our world has pushed Antivirus software “in a high-risk department and tech support”. Some companies have created false positives, they cheat the customer on creating viruses that are not on the computer and put the Antivirus software at high risk. Other companies make the customers choose between Antivirus and All-In-One Internet Security products. The beauty about working with Zillya! is that it is just the one product.



What was your biggest mistake when starting Virus Eraser?

Trusting people. You have to work with people you can trust.



What is the most challenging thing about running your own business?

Staying above the fold. It’s a very stressful business. I worked 7 days a week, almost 12 to 14 hours a day. There’s no other way around it, it’s the only way to be successful. There’s no such thing as taking time off. It’s around the clock, especially because I’m in the United States but most of my partners and affiliates are overseas.



If you could time travel back to day one of your startup and have 15 min with your former self to communicate any lessons you've acquired with the intention of saving yourself from mistakes, what would you tell yourself?

The model that I’ve made with Virus Eraser is a model that I’ve heard and read about a lot.

The whole idea is “not accept the money today, worry about the money tomorrow”. That’s the whole philosophy with Antivirus software. You have to understand that you’re not going to make money in the beginning and the whole idea of the product is to build your renewal base. If you have that in your mind – you’ll be very successful.

I’ve come across a lot of different partners and affiliates and quite frankly you’ll see that it’s a dirty business. People will cheat you. So it’s all about trust.



If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

There are 3 pieces of advice.

  • You must have a business plan
  • You must be willing to give up a lot of personal life.
  • You must understand that there will be highs and lows. The lows will be so low that you will struggle to get to the high. And if you don’t do that, you will fail.

As you can see, it is not easy to become successful but it is possible. You have to follow three simple steps:


  • Work with people you can trust
  • Build your customer base
  • Spend a lot of time for the sake of your company




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