Services like Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Drive are so ubiquitous in the U.S. that it’s easy to forget there are many markets around the world where personal cloud storage is still relatively novel. Cloudike, which is part of ASD Technologies and based in Korea, Russia, and San Jose, California, wants to grab those users by offering white-label cloud storage for mobile service providers and other companies in emerging markets. Cloudike, which exhibited at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, has already raised $1 million in seed funding and is using that capital to grow its sales team.
So far, its clients include major carriers such as LG (it has launched LG Cloud in 41 countries); Megafon, Russia’s second-largest mobile phone operator; and Turkey’s Vestel, an electronics manufacturing group that recently started making smartphones.
Cloudike provides a customized frontend and all backend services, including for iOS, Android, and Windows apps, to companies that want to offer their users cloud storage options. It is targeting expansion in Eastern European countries like Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, as well as markets in East Asia such as Korea, Japan, and China, where services like Dropbox (an Amazon Web Services customer) and Google Drive are not as well-known or easy to access as they are in the U.S. and Western Europe.
“If you live in a country where AWS doesn’t exist, then the speed is very slow,” says chairman and co-founder Sunung Lee. “For example in Korea, a 5MB music file can take 50 seconds to download, but with our server in Korea it is just three seconds. That’s a huge difference. If you don’t have Amazon in your country, it’s very difficult to use Dropbox.”
Cloudike wants to gain market penetration by offering telcos a cost-efficient way to launch personal cloud storage for their users.
“If they start from scratch, it may take two years and maybe $5 million. But people use our solution and it will take maybe three to six months and cost $300,000 to $400,000,” says Lee. Targeting telcos also lets Cloudike enter a market quickly. For example, in Korea, one of its main markets, mobile operators have a 34 percent share of the cloud storage market.”
There are currently slightly more than one million people who use cloud storage powered by Cloudike, but Cloudike CEO Maxim Azarov says that its potential market is 2 billion smartphone users. The company claims a high user retention rate, with 75 percent of Cloudike users utilizing the service every day.
“There’s a myth that most people are already using cloud storage and that most of those people use Google Drive or Dropbox, but if you look at the facts, that is not true. We ran a survey in the U.S. and found that 65 percent of mobile phone subscribers don’t use any cloud storage at all, so there are still a lot of people who are new to the concept. And 35 percent of people who use some kind of cloud storage are using a carrier-provided cloud. You get the phone and it’s already in there, so you just naturally start using it,” says Azarov. “We would like to be a major player in this space. We would like to make sure that not just geeks use the cloud, but also every single user with a smartphone has a good cloud experience.”