Two Finnish startups, MySites (see our previous story here) and Dazzboard (see our previous story here) announced recently that they will partner up: MySites which has completely rebranded itself as ‘social cloud storage’ is now offering Dazzboard users (as well as everybody else) unlimited amount of data storage for free.
We talked to both, MySites and Dazzboard CEOs, to get to the bottom of what is happening with the services and what the co-operation is all about.
MySites, for its part, is going head on againts services like Dropbox or even Mobile.me, which are cloud storage services primarily for consumer use. Ramine Darabiha, MySites CEO, emphasized that “MySites is going for the social angle. Not just a file service, but the best way to share files while you’re on Facebook and on Twitter.” Darabiha adds that “MySites is aiming to be the most Facebook friendly cloud storage service by integrating with many Facebook features such as friends and commenting to name a few”.
The social angle is interesting, even though I’m not sure about a use case where I would want to frequently share publicly files that I upload to my personal cloud storage, let alone share them with all my Facebook friends or see them pop up on my Facebook wall. Then again, we’re still in the very early stages of B2C cloud storage services and currently most of us are using B2C cloud storage just as we use an external hard drives. Sharing music, video and photos could easily be the next phase, especially for the younger users. Regardless of what we think about the social aspect, unlimited storage that MySites offers for free of charge with no restrictions(!) sounds very appealing even though there’s a quite a bit of work still with the user experience: Its hard to see where to go next when logged-in and most buttons are still trying to find their place on the page. Still, I’m personally up beat about the new direction the company has taken.
Recently MySites closed a €500K seed investment round from a group of mainly German angel investors. The seed round was led by Dirk Kiessling, the CFO of Dywidag Systems International (DSI), a large German construction firm. Kiessling was also part of taking DSI public in late 2007.
MySites has altogether a team of four people and the technical development is led by Dr. Armin Roehrl, who is well known skilled Ruby developer. The technology itself and Dr. Roehrl’s involvement were no small factors in successfully closing the seed round that the company raised in early 2009 (first part was raised in late 2007). MySites has also a strategic partnership with a Dutch hosting company Nforce Entertainment, where Nforce has also invested in MySites.
Dazzboard on the other hand wants to be the ‘open iTunes‘, and become a non-proprietary, web-based personal portal for storing, organizing and sharing (via different of social networks) songs, photos, videos and other media content. Tero Salonen, Dazzboard CEO, assured me that Iphone and Ipod support is coming, a consolation for us that have Macs and can’t currently use Dazzboard.
In addition to becoming Apple friendly, Dazzboard is taking the next step towards generating revenue. They are looking into bringing paid content on top of the free content. This could be partnerships with content providers like record labels. Their business model is thus build on distributing content and taking a cut of the paid content transactions. Along with music they are looking closely into possibilities in distributing games through their platform and taking cut on those sales as well.
It seems that both companies are taking big steps forward in and of themselves, but also looking into speeding up the growth through a partnership in which MySites acts as a DropBox type of cloud storage for Dazzboard users. According to both CEOs, the partnership was easy to pull together as both companies aim international (or are ‘born global’ to use the hideous industry slang) from the start in respect to their target markets. Both companies are also very nimble and can move fast: MySites’ team is four person strong (scattered in Germany, France, the Netherlands and Finland) where Dazzboard has currently five persons in their team.