Earlier this week we reported on how Backupify was closing down TweetBackup, a free service to back up your Twitter account that it acquired in 2010; now we have confirmed that, as we’d heard, this is part of a bigger plan at the company to phase out consumer services altogether, as Backupify focuses its efforts on paid services for enterprise customers. From today, it will stop accepting new sign-ups for its free tier of back-up services for personal files. It is also discontinuing by the end of this year support for certain sites, including Facebook personal profiles, Blogger, Picassa and Flickr.
It will continue to offer services to back up Facebook Fan Pages, Twitter and personal Gmail accounts, but it’s likely that these will be moved to all-paid services over time, as part of its personal backup products, which it will continue to support “for the foreseeable future” (even if only as paid, not free, products). Rob May, CEO of Backupify, tells us that the timescale for free support is around two more quarters.
The moves are a signal that some startups that began with consumer social media services in mind have found that market hard to monetize. On the other hand, as enterprises become increasingly social, they are proving to be willing paying customers for many of the same kinds of offerings.
Rob May, CEO of Backupify, tells us that this move has been a long time in the making — some two years in fact.
“We started Backupify as a consumer-facing business but we quickly realized there was money in SMB and enterprise, so when we raised money the intention was to use it to go after the B2B market. And this is now a bigger chunk of our revenue — over 90%,” he told TechCrunch. In a blog post on the news, May also notes that enterprise was only a small percentage of revenues three years ago.
The company is not revealing total user numbers currently but when it announced a Series C round of $9 million last year, it had 170,000 users, and didn’t break out how many of those were free or paid.
He notes that in fact there is nothing of TweetBackup getting left behind in the closure. Over time, as Twitter has changed its own APIs, the company had to rebuilt its product from the ground up. It’s that rebuilt technology that has also gone into Ditto, the Symantec service for backing up Twitter accounts, which turns out was co-developed with Backupify (one by-product of the strategic investment that Symantec made as part of that most recent $9 million round of fundraising).
In the meantime, Backupify is working on developing services to back up other platforms and sites. It’s currently in testing with Apptivo, Freshdesk, Mavenlink, Nimble and Pipeline Deals to provide backup services to their users, and with the increasing move to cloud-based enterprise services, you can see how and where something like that could develop further. May says it’s not currently working with Evernote — a company with an ethos of saving your data for the rest of your live and beyond — but that he would love to.