French startup Lima already did a very successful Kickstarter campaign last year, raising more than $1.2 million. But the company just raised even more money — French VC firm Partech Ventures invested $2.5 million.
As a reminder, Lima is a small device that you plug to your router, as well as one or multiple USB drives. It will then seamlessly transform your USB drives into a personal Dropbox for all your devices. It costs $99 right now.
“With the Kickstarter campaign, we are now producing 17,000 devices instead of 1,000 as we initially expected,” co-founder and CEO Séverin Marcombes told me in a phone interview. “There was so much enthusiasm that we thought we would deliver a polished product like the ones you can find at Best Buy instead of a half-baked Kickstarter gadget. We need to raise the bar to deliver a spotless product.”
There are two striking differences compared to Dropbox and other cloud storage services. First, you don’t need to pay a monthly subscription as your files are stored at home on your own USB hard drives. Second, Lima doesn’t create a magic folder on your computer that syncs with your phone and tablet.
Instead, Lima takes over your file system. Every time you save a file, it will save it to Lima. Your storage on your computer or phone only acts as a cache to speed up access to your most frequent files. You can voluntarily keep some folders on your device with a single button — it works like the offline playlist button in Spotify. Here’s what it looks like in action:
Lima is also compatible with Chromecast, meaning that you can stream all your movies or photos to your TV using your phone. It’s much easier to use this solution rather than having a NAS at home. In other words, Lima can be a NAS for the normals, or a cheaper and more secured Dropbox, or a way to extend your phone storage capacity.
When I first wrote about Lima in July 2013, the company wanted to raise $69,000 on Kickstarter. Not only did the company shatter this goal in 12 hours, but the campaign also broke into Kickstarter’s top 10 most-backed tech projects.
The company also just launched pre-orders again. If you missed the Kickstarter boat, an existing backer can send you an invite so that you can buy a device — it’s limited on purpose. “We are currently manufacturing the first batch of devices for Kickstarter backers, and we have a few more devices than what we need,” Marcombes said.
Kickstarter backers should receive their units in July. As I previously wrote, the production is in its final step. There is still a bit of work when it comes to software as the team is doing low-level development on multiple operating systems. With today’s founding round, the company wants to hire more people and publicly launch the device on the web this fall. There is no word yet on whether we will be able to find Lima devices on Best Buy store shelves at some point.[gallery ids="1011941,1011943"]