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Reptile on Main Street

10/24/2012 11:00 am ET | Updated Dec 24, 2012

OK Labs puts an iguana on it.

Iguanas get a bad rap. Night of the Iguana featured the eponymous lizard tormenting Richard Burton. And then there were the hallucinatory iguanas haunting Nic Cage in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call -- New Orleans. Iggy Pop's nickname is The Iguana.

Chicago-based OK Labs has managed to find a softer, cuddlier side to the lizard's iconic power. Seeking a way to bridge a highly technical product -- the company provides "open source defense-grade, virtualization software" for the mobile and automotive information systems -- with an accessible brand, they landed on the iguana. "Iggy Juana" became their traveling mascot.

Four years later, OK Labs' product is now distributed in more than 1.5 billion mobile devices, and Iggy has racked up more frequent flier miles than most lizards, or humans, could dream of. "He's been to the South Pole, to the pyramids, to China and Australia," Marti Konstant, VP, Marketing told us. "He's given this decidedly B2B product an approachable, social face, [which is critical] when you're building a community of developers."

Iggy has also helped unify the company's far-flung team. Founded in 2006, OK Labs has offices in London, Paris, and Sydney, in addition to their Chicago HQ. And Iggy is often handed off between team members traveling to another location.

OK Labs (where the OK stands for "open kernel," in reference to the technology) was acquired by General Dynamics the night before we met with them. Both founder-CEO Steve Subar and Konstant assured us that Iggy's travels would continue, despite the acquisition.

OK Labs is currently hiring for two positions. Check them out here.

Now go forth (and get Iggy with it).

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