Waterloo, ON and Halifax, NS-based cloud storage company TitanFile announced today that it has added $1.1 million in funding, timed with the launch of its new team collaboration product. The company launched its one-way file-sharing tool in March 2011, and today is pivoting to provide Dropbox-style file collaboration and storage with a focus on security. The company is targeting primarily lawyers and accountants, and counts law firms including McInnes Cooper and Stewart McKelvey as customers.
The new funding was led by Nova Scotia’s Innovacorp, which previously invested $250,000 in August 2011, with participation from several angel investors. Former Google engineer and TitanFile co-founder and CTO Tony Abou-Assaleh said in an interview that it will be used for expanding into new markets like the U.S., since to date the company has been primarily focused on the Canadian market.
“With this funding we will be able go to the U.S. market and conquer that,” Abou-Assaleh said, adding that they will be focusing on legal and financial clients, and will also be looking to partner with U.S. companies. He also said they’ll be looking to double or triple their team of four full-time employees.
Originally TitanFile focused on allowing professional service providers to share large files securely over email. Abou-Assaleh said they found that people didn’t just want one-way file sharing, and instead wanted a way to collaborate on files in the cloud. The new version launching today aims to help teams organize files around people rather than folders. Users can group contacts together, and drag-and-drop files into those contact groups, for example organizing contacts by department so they can easily share files with HR or legal.
The company says it has military grade encryption, and says its security features are one of the reasons they target primarily professional services providers, and have had the most success with lawyers and accountants. Abou-Assaleh said TitanFile provides an alternative to building security features in-house. “A lof them don’t have the resources, whether it’s human resources or money resources, to set up all the encryption by themselves, and we take care of all of that,” he said.
Clients can access TitanFile on the web or via an HTML5 version on the mobile web, and they will also be releasing native apps. The solution is free for individuals, who have unlimited storage space, unlike Dropbox which only provides up to 18 GB of storage for free, and businesses pay $15 per user per month, with discounts available for annual subscriptions or larger businesses.
While TitanFile has stiff competition, with Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box already offering cloud storage and collaboration to millions of people, Abou-Assaleh said that they plan to add integration with these file-sharing solutions, and view them as potential partners rather than competitors. He believes those companies focus more on document syncing and file backup rather than team collaboration, and said that email is the company’s biggest competitor.
“Email is the most pervasive form of communication right now, and this will continue to be our greatest competitor,” he said. “It’s very important that we make it extremely easy to do this…that’s really what’s going to make or break our product.”
The company had 500 clients as of September 2011, and has doubled that number since then, though Abou-Assaleh said they’ve been more focused on building the new product than marketing. While they might view other cloud storage solutions like Dropbox as potential partners rather than competitors, potential users may not see the need for both, since Dropbox already allows teams to share files and see past edits. Its free unlimited account for individuals is its biggest selling point vs. Dropbox, but with a focus on lawyers, accountants, and other professionals, it will need to find a way to sell its team solutions to the U.S. market.