Cloud Data Storage Developer Bitcasa Gets $7M In Funding

Bitcasa, the developer of a cloud storage offering that promises unlimited storage capacity for $10 per month, Wednesday unveiled a new round of funding as well as a new public beta of its service.

The Series A funding run brought $7 million to Bitcasa's coffers from a number of venture capitalists, including a strategic investment by Samsung Ventures, said Tony Gauda, co-founder and CEO of the Mountain View, Calif.-based cloud storage developer.

Bitcasa's initial target is the consumer public cloud storage, file share and mobile device data sync market currently occupied by Dropbox, iCloud, Microsoft SkyDrive, Google Drive, Sugar Sync, and Mozy Home, said Fiaz Mohamed, business development director for the company.

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"Over the next few months, we'll look at SMBs and partners like Samsung," Mohamed said. "We have unannounced partnerships with existing vendors."

Bitcasa's technology was built from the ground up to let customers store unlimited data on the company's cloud at a cost of $10 per month, Gauda said. Data is encrypted and deduped on the client side before it is uploaded to the cloud, where only a single copy of duplicate blocks of data is stored.

However, unlike most cloud storage offerings where the focus is on either backing up data sitting on client devices or on offering file sharing or device data synchronization, Bitcasa's cloud serves as primary storage for whatever data the customers wish to store there, he said.

"Our goal is to be like a Western Digital or a Seagate drive," he said. "We want to be an external storage vendor. We've seen customers plug in an external storage device, virtualize it, copy its data to our cloud, and then throw the device away."

This is done, Gauda said, by letting users decide how big of a cache on their client devices they wish to dedicate to their storage before sending all data to the Bitcasa cloud. Bitcasa uses that cache to keep frequently accessed data available locally for fast access, and even predicts what data will be accessed beforehand so it can download it from the cloud to the device.

And because the data is encrypted before being uploaded to the Bitcasa cloud, users' data sits securely in the cloud while being available, in most cases, at local device speed, he said.

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Bitcasa's Gauda contrasted that to some cloud storage providers that keep full copies of multiple versions of files in the cloud or allow data to be shared without encrypting it.

Data stored in the cloud can be placed in a single folder that is available to all of a user's devices or in folders that can be synced to the devices, Mahomed said. "Files can be pushed to other users or to Facebook and made available instantly," he said.

Bitcasa's technology enables data to appear the same on any user device regardless of operating system, Mohamed said. Bitcasa also provides predictive streaming, which maintains data in a local cache on the device while downloading data even before it's accessed based on estimated user requirements, he said.

Public beta of the Bitcasa services is now open, giving potential customers an opportunity to try it at no charge. Official availability is expected to start in about six months at $10 per month with no limit on capacity. An SMB version with channel involvement is slated to be available afterward.

Since January, Bitcasa's private beta has been tested by users in 120 countries who have uploaded about 1 billion files, or a total of more than 4 petabytes of data, Gauda said.

The new $7 million funding round will be used to quicken Bitcasa's time to market and to expand its sales and marketing programs. Prior to this round, the company had received $2 million in funding.