Sndr, a startup scheduled to launch its Kickstarter today, is hoping to entice small business users with unique features in its hybrid network storage service.
Encrypted files and messages stored on Sndr can only be read upon beaconing back to the server, so users can obliterate previously sent information by deleting that fragment, even if the information was downloaded or forwarded to a third person.
Now, the Orlando company is hoping to fund $68,000 to manufacture a personal network-storage device about the size of your hand. It will connect to your wired or wireless network, send files at your command, and its memory can be upgraded, CEO Shaun Murphy explained.
Murphy is fond of saving human and electronic bandwidth whenever possible. (Sndr is spelled in all consonants, he joked, because, "I had a bad experience with vowels as a kid.") Now, however, "Upload speeds are absolutely abysmal, and we're all worried about network neutrality going out the window," he noted. "We've lost any sort of control over our data. You put something in the cloud, and who knows who's looking at it? You never know," he said.
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Sndr works on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Android, and iOS. Murphy said a browser-based version is under development so that message recipients do not need to download a Sndr application in order to view attachments or send replies. He's also working on a corporate version that could be installed on a server inside a private network.
For now the Sndr public version will cost a few dollars a month for the service and $149 for early funders of the Kickstarter hardware. The hardware will initially be sized as a comparable solid-state hard drive. Funding through Kickstarter allows Murphy to keep control of his vision, unlike funding through venture capital, he said.
Information technology analyst Rob Enderle said it's more likely that corporate funders would not want to assist until a company like Sndr has a critical mass of users. That will be difficult to achieve as long as there's pressure for message recipients to download the application for complete functionality, he noted. Another challenge for Sndr is that enterprise-scale systems already do many of the same functions, although if successful, it certainly wouldn't be the first product to target consumers and slowly make its way into business corridors. "It's a cart-and-horse issue, regardless," Enderle observed.
MultiVir, a drug development company, and Uplift5, which makes orthodontic products, are two of the small businesses testing Sndr. MultiVir's Nick Puro said he learned of the service through a neighbor, while Uplift5's Bryce Way said his company and Sndr have common investors. Both said they have frequent need to send very large files to clients and partners, and that they would be willing to purchase the system when available.
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Evan Koblentz began covering enterprise IT news during the dot-com boom times of the late 1990s. He recently published a book, "Abacus to smartphone: The evolution of mobile and portable computers". He is director of Vintage Computer Federation, a 501(c)3 non-profit and can often be found running marathons or having deep conversations with Floppy Disk Cat.