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Startup ownCloud on Fast Track with Enterprise Alternative to Dropbox

OwnCloud, a rapidly growing startup offering IT managers an answer to the bane of their existence (Dropbox), is on the verge of closing on its first round of financing and has upgraded the community version of its offering.

Founded just two years ago, ownCloud raised $4.4 million this week, the Boston Business Journal reported on Monday, and is slated to close on a full round of $7 million. 

I recently talked to ownCloud Co-Founder and CEO Markus Rex. The company appears to be off to a strong start. Rex said ownCloud has over 100 paying enterprise customers, with anywhere from 50 users to (in the case of its largest customer) 30,000 users. Licensing costs start at $9,000 per year for 50 users. Also, Rex counts 3 million downloads of ownCloud's free open source edition.

The company is not a Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft SkyDrive wannabe, but promises the antidote to those services: the ability to provide the same experience as Dropbox while giving IT management the option of storing data on premises or in a cloud of their choice -- or any combination of scenarios. But ownCloud doesn't operate its own service; it's a software provider with both commercial and open source editions.

OwnCloud has an app for mobile devices (iOS- and Android-based), Windows PCs (though not a Windows Store app) and Macs. "It gives you a Dropbox-style user experience and the same type of access to your data and your files," Rex said.

Though the user experience is the same -- perhaps even better since IT can give users more capacity and flexibility -- data is better protected with ownCloud, according to Rex. If a device is lost or stolen, IT can shut off access to a specific device and implement other policies, as well.

Customers can install the ownCloud software on any Web server, including Apache and Microsoft's IIS. It can support Windows and Linux servers and integrates with Active Directory. Rex said ownCloud can work with popular enterprise storage platforms and, for those who want to use the public cloud, supports Amazon Web Services S3 storage, as well as OpenStack Swift storage. Rex said ownCloud will support other cloud services as customers request it.

The company this week released ownCloud 6, a new community edition of the software that offers improved performance and stability, as described by Co-Founder Frank Karlitschek in a blog post Wednesday. Rex said the company is targeting next quarter to release an upgrade to the commercial version.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 12/11/2013 at 2:16 PM


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