Contrary to that old saying, Harvey Medcalf believes you can take it all with you.
Medcalf is the president and CEO of a Burlington, Ont.-based start-up called Arroware Industries, which formally launched its first product, myApollo, for the Android operating system last week.
He describes myApollo as a combination social media network and a personal, private cloud that offers users the ability to synchronize, backup and share media files across multiple devices while simultaneously discovering other users’ content.
Unlike other cloud-based file sharing services like DropBox, which house content on servers in storage warehouses, myApollo harnesses unused power from its users’ hardware devices to store, sync and stream media files. MyApollo moves data that users wish to be shared between devices in encrypted chunks, each containing a “blueprint” that can be used to quickly and reliably reconstruct the file.
According to the myApollo press materials, users can watch a Blu-ray-quality movie stored on a home computer using a laptop at the cottage, and experience superior picture and sound quality without buffering, lagging or syncing issues. Photos or movies shot using a smartphone can be viewed on a laptop or tablet even if they have been deleted from the original device.
“There are millions of people everyday that have that same problem – they can’t plan for things they have no idea are coming,” said Medcalf. “We live a very fragmented digital existence and there are files that we can be looking for at any given moment and they might be sitting back at home.”
Arroware says it has attracted “millions” in investment funding (an exact amount was not disclosed), which it has used in part to finance its $2.5-million technology infrastructure purchased from Dell.
Unlike other start-ups, the company used a mainstream media buy to promote itself running TSAs in downtown Toronto and around educational institutions since early July. The cryptic ads featured the myApollo name, along with the invitation “Try me, Toronto.” A second wave of ads informed consumers: “Your next social network is here.”
“We’ve managed to create quite a buzz for a product that hasn’t hit the airwaves yet,” said Medcalf prior to the official launch. “A key part of launching a very successful product in this sector is having a lot of awareness and excitement, so that’s what the goal was.”
Arroware has set an internal goal of what Medcalf called “a race to a million” users. “We’re hoping to take on as many users as possible, based upon us being an authentically driven company,” he said. “It was designed by a group of very young people who knew what they were looking for out of their own technology.”
Unlike other social networks that have attempted to shoehorn advertising in after establishing a user base, myApollo has been constructed as a business right from its inception, said Medcalf. “We haven’t been actively seeking advertisers, but we’re just at the point where we can accept it,” he said.
The company, which plans to launch on iOS in the near future, also plans to generate revenue through in-app purchases, said Medcalf.