Storj is a startup at Atlanta Tech Village. It is disrupting an industry many of us don’t think much about except for how many documents and photos it can contain- cloud storage. You know, when you store stuff “on the line” and it just magically goes into a “cloud” somewhere mysterious in the sky? The simple explanation for cloud storage is that your data is being stored on remote servers accessed by the internet. That physical environment is then owned and operated by a hosting company. There are a handful of folks who own this space- think Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and DropBox.
Storj would say those are expensive and insecure traditional clouds.
So what if you could store all your important digital items more affordably by using your friends, neighbors, and strangers storage in an entirely secure way? This is Storj.
Using blockchain technology, they have created a crowd-sourced cloud storage platform. They rent out users’ excess hard drive space and bandwidth, and use that capacity in a high-speed, encrypted, open-source cloud storage for developers. Think of it as a mix of Airbnb and Dropbox. Cool, right?
This past February, Storj raised $3 million with contributions from individual investors employed by VC firms including Google Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures and Techstars. Shaw Wilkinson, CEO, is passionate about fighting for users and their data and Storj goes a long way in that battle. Here’s more from this disruptive, growing Atlanta startup:
What traction does Storj currently have?
We have almost 18,000 users. We are growing quickly because people are unhappy with the current expensive and insecure traditional cloud.
Why did you choose to build your company in Atlanta?
Three of the founders grew up here or were living here at the time. Cost of living is great, and we were able to get some really good developers with experience in our industry. Just made sense. It’s definitely a plus that the tech ecosystem in Atlanta is rapidly expanding.
How do you think your technology will impact us three years down the road?
Cloud storage at scale is insecure, slow, and expensive. Solutions like ours will go from useful to critical to building and maintaining large scale applications.
What is currently your biggest challenge?
We are competing with the world’s largest cloud storage provider, Amazon S3 which has over a decade of entrenchment in processes and tools. Storj is faster, more secure and cheaper, but that doesn’t mean much if you have to spend hours or days migrating to our platform. That’s why we are focused on building tools and integrating into platforms that allow developers to use the features of Storj, but with the least amount of work needed on their side.
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs?
Be open about your ideas, and solicit feedback. A successful startup is only 1% idea, but 99% execution. Getting good feedback can help you avoid pitfalls that could kill your business, and find areas of growth that you would never think of yourself.