A new company called Connected Data wants to change the way people do cloud storage, with a dedicated, Internet-connected storage device called the Transporter. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the company is looking to get the product in more people’s hands, and will be helped in that pursuit by $6 million in Series A funding led by Floodgate, with participation from Northgate Capital.
The team behind Connected Data previously came from Drobo, maker of high-volume storage systems and enclosures. With the new device, they’re taking their knowledge from the storage market and adding a cloud-based networking twist into the mix.
The Transporter can connect to the Internet either by Ethernet or WiFi, and once it has, it provides users with an intuitive interface for accessing, managing, and sharing files securely between machines and with other people. Once installed and shared, users can access files stored on a Transporter through their computer’s usual file directory, or they can log in through a web browser.
While the Transporter shares file data through a cloud-based management tool, all of the files themselves are stored securely on the device, and can only be accessed if a user or machine has been granted those permissions. As a result, the founders argue that the device is more secure than, say, cloud services like Dropbox, where all data is stored in the cloud.
In addition to security and privacy, the Connected Data team also touts the relatively low cost of the device. While there is some upfront cost in purchasing it, the ability to store, backup, and access up to 1 TB of files remotely through various cloud storage solutions can get costly, when you consider recurring monthly fees. In comparison, there are no recurring service fees once you’ve bought a Transporter.
In December, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign to gauge demand for the device and to get feedback from potential users. It succeeded in selling more than a thousand units and raising more than 2.5 times its goal of $100,000. To the founders, that showed that there was a market for the Transporter, but it also helped them to learn more about what customers really want from them.
For instance, they had some question about whether or not consumers would purchase a version of the product without storage built in, but about a quarter of Kickstarter backers opted for the drive-less option. Also, they quickly found that there was large demand for a corresponding Android app, and bumped that way up on the priority list.
There are three different price points for the Transporter: There’s a $199 device with no storage built in, a $299 version with 1TB of storage, and a $399 version with 2TB of storage. Connected Data already has distribution deals set up with a wide range of retailers, including Adorama, Amazon.com, B&H Photo, Datavision, J&R, New Egg, and PC Mall.