Uppidy, a D.C. area startup which last year launched a consumer-facing app allowing users to back up their text messages to the cloud, has just introduced a paid version of its service that now supports pictures and videos, too. The company has also closed an additional round of seed funding, bringing its total raise to date to $600,000.
Investors in the startup include Band of Angels, CIT (Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology), New Vantage Group, Harvest Group Holdings, LLC, Fortify Ventures, and Paul Silber of Blu Venture Investors. Except for Silber, the company decided not to take on individual angel investments, but is in the process of raising additional funding now.
The service is primarily focused on the Android platform for the time being, as the Android operating system allows apps to more deeply integrate with its various components, like messaging. Uppidy does offer a version of its SMS backup solution for iOS users, but it requires a desktop download that works with the iTunes software – it can’t backup the SMS messages using a mobile app alone, as it can on Android.
For that reason, according to CEO Joshua Konowe, the majority of Uppidy’s current user base are Android users. Since launch, Uppidy has archived 25 million messages, and has gained tens of thousands of users on its ad-supported free platform. Two-thirds of these users return to the service to look back through their texts after the initial install, spending on average over 8 minutes in the app or on the website while doing so. Konowe is careful to explain that because of the sensitive nature of SMS-based communications, Uppidy’s team never looks at the data they’re housing directly. And it doesn’t sell or share data to third-parties without users’ consent.
Konowe, who was inspired to build such a service after an incident where he dropped his own phone in the toilet, losing his text messages along the way, says Uppidy is already serving a wide range of use cases.
“Parents who are worried about sexting and bullying, corporations who want to store the stuff for risk management purposes, and a younger age demographic who doesn’t really email as much – they don’t have a way to manage this information off the phone,” Konowe says, listing use cases. “That’s what Uppidy does.”
He adds that the company isn’t really sure how many of its users are coming from the corporate world, because it’s not specifically targeting them yet. He can only infer things based on the email addresses being used to sign up.
“What I can tell you is that we’re getting requests from corporate administrators to set up a corporate dashboard. They want to be able to manage ten thousand phones, but right now that’s not really plausible with the way the system is built,” says Konowe. However, he notes that the company is poised to announce some relationships with MDM players (mobile device management) which would allow Uppidy data to be viewed within an iFrame within an MDMs own application, for example. The startup is also considering ways to license the technology through its API, which MDMs or the corporations themselves could directly access. Pricing details on these future plans have not been worked out.
The original version of the app, which works on both Android and to some extent, iOS, remains free, but the paid version launched more recently now lets users store their pictures and videos in the cloud, as well.
Eventually, the plan is to go beyond SMS and data backup alone. “Later, we want to make it so that you could reintegrate the messages right into the client of the phone you are using,” says Konowe. Of course, how broad an install base something like that could support depends on whether or not Apple ever opens up access to its native SMS kernel for utilities like this.
So far, it has not.
Uppidy downloads (oh yeah, including BlackBerry!), are available here.