Brad Garlinghouse Becomes CEO Of Booming File Sharing Site YouSendIt

Box has been grabbing headlines lately because it has been nailing a big market: enterprise customers who need to easily share and store big collections of documents online. But a quiet Silicon Valley rival has also been winning a bunch of this turf — YouSendIt. Today, the company is backing up its position with some new stats, and a new chief executive, Brad Garlinghouse.

He’s coming off a two-year stint as the head of consumer products at AOL, and a previous five years heading up consumer and enterprise apps at Yahoo. He also has roots as an investor and entrepreneur, so this move is going back to that.

YouSendIt, meanwhile, says it has 98% of the Fortune 500 companies on it in some form (Box says it has 82%, for whatever this comparison is worth). More importantly, there’s quality revenue in this type of business. YouSendIt has nearly 600,000 paying customers on top of 30 million registered users; revenue has correspondingly shot up from $24.4 million in 2010 to $39.3 million last year. Those numbers are also very competitive with Box and other sharing services, from what I hear.

Garlinghouse — who will be on stage at Disrupt New York next week to share more details — says he’s particularly excited about some other data points. Registered users have gone up 71% from the first quarter of 2011, while the paid subscriber growth in the first quarter of 2012 beat the same period the previous year. The company isn’t sharing its revenue run-rate at this point, but these numbers indicate it is going up faster than ever.

All this is a big new public view of YouSendIt, which began life way back in 2004, and has managed to grow with little publicity (although TechCrunch has been on the case for years). One way it did this, as Garlinghouse tells me, was a cleverly placed link in email users would send each other. First a user uploads a file and shares it, then they send an email telling the recipient to go get it on the company’s hosted page. But, the email includes a link that says “click here to register and we’ll store it for you.” At some point after users register and start using the service, they’ll hit the paywall.

Garlinghouse is replacing six-year chief executive Ivan Koon (who is widely credited for building the guts of the business). Going forward, the new exec will be doing what some of its rivals have excelled at, which is creating an extremely simple user-facing product, and pushing the company’s brand in public.