The Online Storage Gang


The online storage market is evolving fast. In the past, users could expect no more than a simple service where files could be slowly uploaded and downloaded from a mapped virtual drive or a simple web based interface. Little competition (and the bursting of the bubble) led to very high prices for a minimal amount of storage.

Over the last year a slew of new services have launched (some are launching in February) with serious web 2.0 features, reasonable pricing (including free unlimited storage) and, in at least one case (OmniDrive), the ability to read/write directly to the file with local applications like Office, on the remote server. This last feature speeds the process of writing to files significantly by skipping the requirement to download the file to the hard drive first.

The Online Storage Gang
We looked at a total of thirteen companies. They are: AllMyData,, eSnips, Freepository, (the unfortunately named) GoDaddy, iStorage, Mofile, Mozy, Omnidrive, Openomy, Streamload, Strongspace and Xdrive.

Another service, Zingee, has yet to launch and may also (or may not) have a compelling offering.

Of the thirteen companies that we researched for this post, three really stand out. Australia-based OmniDrive (unfunded but not for long) is the clear leader in features. and Streamload are also very good choices.

The services can roughly be broken down into storage-centric and sharing-centric. Some services, like Mozy and the unfortunately named Godaddy, are centered on storage only. GoDaddy offers online file backup with very basic uploading and downloading features – effectively a remote network drive. They are a bare-bones service with a fairly attractive price point ($20/year for 2 GB). You will not find sharing or other advanced features here.

Other services offer storage but really focus on sharing files. There are a number of options here, but the best (OmniDrive, and Streamload) offer full private and public sharing. In addition, I really like the way approaches group folders, where any number of people can have read/write priviliges. Omnidrive is close to launching this feature as well.

Web 2.0 Features
Most of the new players (possibly with the exception of Mozy) are laser focused on key web 2.0 features. The best have multiple folders (private, shared, group, public), RSS feeds for each folder, etc. A couple, including Omnidrive, have also built features that allow subscriptions for RSS enclosures (such as podcasts), so that those files are stored in the cloud instead of your hard drive.

And OmniDrive has one key feature that no one else matches: full read/write functionality on the file, in the cloud. Open a file from your Omnidrive, edit it and write it back to Omnidrive without ever downloading a local copy. Once they release their API, I imagine many, many services will mash the Omnidrive storage service into their applications. It is just too compelling not to.

AllMyData, unique among the group, is a full peer-to-peer solution with “grid storage”. This means you give up storage on your hard drive for other users, and you get theirs in return. Putting aside the fact that giving up storage is exactly what users don’t want when looking for a solution, the fact that others’ computers must be powerd up and online for you to be able to access your files is a serious service limitation.

Pricing is all over the place, although I expect it to settle down as competition drives some of these companies out of the market.

Streamload is the most aggresive on pricing – offering a full 25 GB free to every user.

The obvious way to market these products, in my opinion, is to boldly offer unlimited storage for a nominal sum. Costs can be covered via a one-time sign up fee and through charges on download bandwidth (once I need the files, I’m willing to pay to get them).

I firmly believe that online storage should, and will, be packaged with new computers and applications like Windows. The amount of unprotected but hugely important media content out there on hard drives (music, movies, home movies, pictures), is growing every day. People need somewhere to back this data up for a reasonable fee, and it seems to me that Dell and others should package this service with the PC. All initial software would be auto stored, and users would have the option to continuously syncronize their hard drive with the virtual drive.

And while this business has thin margins, this is a multi-billion dollar per year revenue opportunity.

The Chart
The information above simply highlights the much more detailed information in the table linked to the left.

We were not able to speak to every company directly and the information available on websites is usually incomplete or hard to find. Therefore, we’ll be updating this table as more and better data comes in. Also, I’m sure I’ve left out any number of competitors in this space, so I will be updating the list of companies as well.

For the full feature comparison table, see here.

Research by Adam Bouskila
Research for this post was conducted by Adam Bouskila, a 17 year old genius who lives in Vancouver, Canada. I cannot thank Adam enough for his hard work, and I hope to work with him again on future posts.

Update: It’s clear to me from comments and emails that this space is exploding, and that I missed a lot of companies and features. I also hadn’t realized Fred Wilson posted on this subject last December, but he has an excellent post here.

More TechCrunch

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI