It has been just three months since the once email-centric file-sharing service YouSendIt changed its name to Hightail, but it sure feels like longer. When I spoke with him yesterday, CEO Brad Garlinghouse felt the same way. It has just been that kind of year for the company.
A new mission brought with it a new name that’s intended to better reflect everything the company can do. And now there are new investors, too.
Hightail said Tuesday it has raised a $34 million Series E led by Western Digital Capital, the investment arm of Western Digital, the hard drive manufacturer. Accolade Partners is also a new investor. Previous investors Alloy Ventures, Sevin Rosen, Emergence Capital, Adams Street Partners and Sigma Partners also participated.
It’s the first new funding for Hightail since 2010, when it raised $15 million in a D round, and it brings its total capital raised to nearly $83 million. During most of that time, the company hasn’t been hurting for money, running on cash from its operations.
So how has business been since the name change? “Candidly, we were very apprehensive about the change. But within a month we saw traffic and activity up,” Garlinghouse told AllThingsD.
One reason for the new funding is expansion in international markets. Hightail recently opened offices in London and in Australia, and has been working furiously to localize its service for markets in Europe. In just the last month it has completed new versions in German, Spanish and Italian.
Hightail has also been quietly acquisitive. In September it acquired adeptCloud, a file-sharing and collaboration outfit that focuses on privacy. “They do some very clever things around key management and document control and watermarking,” Garlinghouse said. “There’s a lot more interest in privacy now. It’s the Edward Snowden effect.”
That’s on top of Found, a cloud-searching service Hightail acquired in January.
In its previous incarnation, YouSendIt, Hightail had built up a trusted brand name. It boasted a user base of 43 million people – free and paid combined – using its service in 193 countries and pretty much all of the Fortune 500.
File sharing is a tough space in which to compete. DropBox, Box and Microsoft’s SkyDrive are all fighting for the same enterprise users that Hightail is going after. But Garlinghouse’s hope is that Hightail’s historic relationship with a lot of those same corporate users will turn out to be an advantage.
There’s also more to it than storage. Garlinghouse is hoping that large companies will pay for enhanced services like access control, extra security and activity logs. “Anyone can offer file storage in the cloud,” he said. “Our way of differentiating is what you can do with those files after you’ve uploaded them in the cloud.”
Let’s be honest, Google has been wicked awesome at the amount of storage they offer us for free. 5 GB to split among GMail, Google Drive and Google+ pics is pretty damn fair compared to the paltry 2 GB Dropbox serves its free users. Google clearly wants to stay waaaaaaaay ahead of the competition as they just tripled the amount of available cloud storage.
15 GB of cloud love is slowly rolling out for all of us that rely on the Google train. What’s even better is you can decide if you want an even split or if you want more space devoted to Google+. Maybe you don’t use Drive that much, you can just adjust the settings so you have more room for your cat photos in G+. Google Apps users are also seeing a bump up – from 25 GB to 30 GB.
Don’t forget, you can also purchase more space if you tend to be a storage hog. $5 a month will score you a 100 GB online storage shed while a Weasly measly 10 smackers a month can rent out a reception hall sized 200 GB.
Makes you wonder way, mere days before Google I/O, they pumped up the storage. Do they have some shenanigans ready for the annual developers conference? Stay tuned geeks, we’ll find out!
If you had to guess how many files people were adding to Dropbox on a daily basis what would you guess? A million? Five million? Nope. It’s a freaking billion.
In a speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, CEO Drew Hudson said, in addition to that impressive factlet, that 100 million people are using the cloud storage service across 500 million mobile devices. And by the end of 2013, Dropbox expects to hit 150 million users. Wow. [CNET via SlashGear]