Cloud storage is super useful now! Gone are the days where you have to lug around a portable storage device such as USB stick or a larger sized hard drive just to transfer files from one computer to another. A start-up based in Shanghai, called Yun.io, is looking to be a comprehensive cloud storage service for China, or a Dropbox of China.
Just last night, my girlfriend knew she had to work on some homework so she Dropbox-ed something to her account so she could work on it at my place and exclaimed “I love Dropbox!” Dropbox was a Y-Combinator start-up last valued at US$4 billion! The problem or opportunity for China is that Dropbox is blocked here.
The sector is not new in China and there are already a few major players vying for consumer love in this hot space. Just today, we reported Baidu is setting up a mobile cloud computing division. Shanda also has a cloud storage and file transfer service called Shand Note. I’ve also written about another type of quick file transfer start-up called min.us from New York.
Yun.io works much in the same way Dropbox does, whereby you install it onto your computer. It creates folder on your computer, which looks like it’s on your hard drive but actually sits on the magical cloud. When you want to save a file to it, you simply save it to the folder. When you want to re-access it from another computer or mobile device, you simply log-into your Yun.io account and wollah, you can see it!
In this way, Yun.io connects you to your files anywhere and anytime, making is ultra convenient to access them and saves you from instances where you forgot to take your files on a USB or portable hard drive. It also saves you from sending files to your email and clogging it up with large files. It is also gives you peace of mind, that if you lose your computer, or gets broken, it can be easily retrieved on another device.
Yun.io is also making file sharing more social by allowing people to give access to others by creating a simple link. For example, when talking on RenRen of QQ, you can post the link and people can download the files straight away, rather than transferring huge files and eating up bandwidth.
Yun.io works with Mac, Windows and Linux clients. They will also release mobile versions for both Android and iOS soon. It is currently in Beta.
However cloud storage comes with certain risks. If you don’t ‘physically’ have it stored on your device but instead, sits in the ‘cloud’, who actually controls it and what is stopping other people from hacking into it? Just back in June, it was reported that Dropbox suffered a security glitch that allowed any user to log-in to any account without a password. A scary thought, when you trust your confidential and private information with a third party service.
The team behind Yun.io is Chris Mathews and Rick Olson. Chris is a Chinese American and Rick is an American that is apparently very Chinese on the inside. In 2001 Chris founded his first web company at the age of 19, and then later came to China for an MBA in Fudan University. Rick amazingly began programming at the age of 7 and became a hacker by the time he hit 13 years of age. He has served in various senior engineering positions in big name web companies.
The duo started working on Yun.io two years ago from an apartment with only another two people. Like many start-ups, they experienced some set-backs but remained resilient. After building a demo, they searched for capital and finally raised some money in July. The money was used to build out their talented team to thirteen people.
For many, ‘the cloud’ is a difficult concept to grasp. To get more insight into what it is, check out some of the posts we wrote during our TechNode Collide Conference on Powering the China Cloud. James Eron of China Net Cloud describes how start-ups should consider cloud servers early.