Wuala 'merges' with LaCie to take P2P cloud storage mainstream

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Wuala, the Zurich-based peer-to-peer-storage startup owned by Caleido AG, has been taken over by LaCie, the French manufacturer of external storage devices in a deal which frankly makes a lot of sense. One has an application, the other has storage hardware.

They are calling it a merger, but Wuala is clearly a lot smaller than LaCie. The deal marks a high point for Wuala co-founder and CEO Dominik Grolimund, but rather confirms the usual course of European startups in exiting as early as they can rather than scaling their startups to a point that they become world-beaters. It also looks like they either didn’t go for the VC deals they were rumoured to be in discussion about, or that those talks never came to fruition.

However, all props to Grolimund who has been on a four year journey from developing what became Wuala ago at the ETH Zurich to something that could end up being a reliable and secure cloud storage backed by millions of devices. Philippe Spruch, founder and CEO of LaCie thinks the Wuala deal will lead LaCie to transform from a hardware manufacturer to a “digital storage provider”. He may have something there.

We’ve previously written about Wuala at length here.

  • Yup

    “…and perhaps a hardware storage company is the natural home for Wuala’s technology”

    Yup, told him so, way back… glad for him he listened.


  • Fabrice Epelboin

    Yeah! Congrats to Dominique!

    • timotim

      Cool, congrats :D

  • Neil Thompson

    “rather confirms the usual course of European startups in exiting as early as they can rather than scaling their startups to a point that they become world-beaters” – ouch. Good job the US model is so perfect.

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  • Adsense

    Good job the US model is so perfect.

  • v!z

    i am sure the company is cool and all … but the thing that caught my eye here is the way they write ‘wuala’ ….. if u knew how to read urdu …. the ‘uala’ part of the word says “mama” the way it is written in urdu …. i really couldn’t make out ‘wuala’ until i read the post … neways goodluck to both wuala and laCie

  • Gleb Budman

    Congratulations to Wuala and LaCie on the exit.

    At Backblaze ( we have long believed that the world is moving to a hybrid model – one in which hardware, software, and online services work together to provide the ideal customer solution.

    When we started down our path of building the easiest online backup service, many questioned whether the popularity of external drives would negate the need for online backup.

    As it turned out, users of external drives are some of our most passionate and loyal customers. They are the ones who value data and logically start to consider the various ways it can be destroyed and the best way to ensure it does not. External drives and online backup are natural complements.

    Again, congratulations to Wuala and LaCie. This seems like a natural fit.

    Gleb Budman
    Backblaze CEO

  • Vision Aforethought

    Wuala seems lovely, but what I’m missing is why when one can now buy a 1T external hard drive for about $150, Wuala want $1000 per year for the same online storage. 1G free is no different than what Google offer and will go very quickly. I think the technology, branding and company fantastic, but the business model unrealistic (perhaps, unfair?) – in particular during a downturn. No ad supported model/option to keep prices down? (BTW, I have been advocating P2P online storage for years and it’s about time a real company did it.)

  • Vision Aforethought

    Lovely logo too! And the fit with LaCie is perfect.

  • Wuala firma un acuerdo con LaCie

    […] la startup de almacenamiento online, ha firmado un acuerdo con LaCie, un fabricante francés de dispositivos de almacenamiento externo. Así, Wuala aporta la […]

  • Tom

    @ Gleb – there’s really no need to self-promote your company so nakedly in a posting that is vaguely related to your business. Nobody buys it.

    This sounds like a forward-thinking move for LaCie. Hope the Wuala team actually got a good deal.

  • Storage guy

    The only problem with this deal is Lacie’s products are notoriously unreliable. They often arrive DOA or die a short while after. We have had literally dozens of their portable drive products fail. And we are not alone as several class actions have been discussed in the past.

    So the concept of a cloud storage pool running on Lacie’s unreliable products doesn’t give me warm fuzzies!

    This maybe a move for Lacie to get out of the hardware business which they obviously don’t do well. They have always been about the “image” of their products opposed to actually a quality reliable product.

    Wuala does look like cool stuff, it’s too bad they’ve linked up with what is most likely the wrong parent to really push it.

    Why someone like Netapp or EMC didn’t snap them up to build a consumer cloud storage push I don’t understand….

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  • Christophe Camborde

    Good deal !

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  • five fingers

    I like it very much,It’s pretty good.

  • Graham Perrin states that the acquisition was in May 2009.

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