TC50: iTwin Remotely Connects Two Computers Via USB Drives

Screen shot 2009-09-12 at 11.11.54 AMRemotely connecting two computers is still a pretty big pain. It usually requires two parties jumping through a bunch of hoops to get things working. This includes each computer having the same software, using various passwords, and waiting on a connection. iTwin, a new startup launching today at TechCrunch50 aims to make the process entirely plug and play.

iTwin takes the idea of remote connection and transfers it to hardware. A simple two-part USB drive allows one user to plug it in to one computer and then snap off and hand the second part to someone else with another computer. They will then have instant access to the other computer. It’s as if there was a hard line cable connecting two computers anywhere in the world, but there is no cable, just the USB drives and the Internet. As iTwin puts it, they’re the “cable-less cable.”

The idea came to the team when they realized that remote access to a second computer was simply too complicated for most users. Everyone gets how to use USB drives, but those simply either don’t have enough storage to share an entire other computer’s hard drive, or are not secure enough (you could lose the drive, etc). So iTwin combines the two technologies.

This is a product totally designed for the mass market, not the techies, though they’re obviously welcome to buy and use it as well, iTwin notes. Next year, some 200 million flash drives are expected to be sold, that’s the market iTwin is looking at.

The plan is to launch iTwin in the first half of 2010 for $99. CEO Lux Anatharaman and COO Kal Takru presented the company today. They are based in Singapore.

Expert Panel Q&A (paraphrased)

The experts: Don Dodge, Yossi Vardi, Ron Conway, George Zachary, and Jason Hirschhorn.

Q: Security is a big concern.

LA: Everything is encrypted.

Q: What happens when I lose the other half?

LA:You just pull out your half and your data is safe.

Q: How many people are in the company?

LA: Two of us and three engineers.

Q: Does this kill remote desktop?

LA: It certainly could.

Q: How much does this cost?

LA: Eventually if we make enough of these it will be super cheap to make. We will distrupt portable storage.

Q: What distribution channels?

KT: We will initially sell it online through our own web store. The initial launch with be in Singapore, in 6 months in U.S. and Europe.

Q: File sync is a big problem. How do you compete with what Microsoft is doing with Live Mesh, with its free offering.

LA: Uploading a terabyte to the cloud is still too time consuming and expensive. This is a two-person device to give people a very easy and tangible way to save something.

Q: Would you take another meeting with them?

DD: Pass
YV: Pass
RC: I’m software too but I would consider
GZ: I would take another meeting
JH: Cool technology but retail is tough.


Other Coverage:

TC50: iTwin allows encrypted, cableless file-sharing VentureBeat.
iTwin allows for easy file-sharing CoolestGadgets.
iTwin lets you share files over the internet Engadget.
iTwin Wireless USB Networking Device TFTS.
The iTwin lets you transfer files over the internet with ease, if you don’t already know how to do so
Use iTwin USB To Share Data Between PCs Wirelessly, Share Data Overseas! TechnologyNerd.