Seattle startup raises $1.3 million to encrypt the cloud

Kory Gill’s “a-ha” moment came in the form of a lightning bolt that struck his Seattle home and fried his computers. In the aftermath, his wife’s main concern was whether their digitally stored family photos had survived the blast.

“What more of a sign do you need to go start this company?” Gill recalled his wife asking him, who used the scare to leave a 20-year career at Microsoft (MSFT.O) and launch his own online backup company.

Three years later (Reuters first interviewed Gill in 2009), Gill and co-founder Marius Nita – a former Microsoft colleague – are seeing some traction with Newline Software Inc, having launched the first version of their online storage product, Exact, into the market in August.

Gill told Reuters they have just closed their latest financing round – Newline’s third – to bring their total funding to $1.3 million. The money, raised from friends and family, will be spent on improving the product, growing the brand and building a new software platform that will allow Newline to encrypt every piece of data stored online, or in “the cloud,” said Gill.

The platform called OPTIC (Online Privacy Technology In the Cloud) is an application programming interface (API) that Gill hopes will give Newline a competitive advantage over much larger rivals such as Carbonite and Mozy.

Cloud storage company Cirtas raises $22 million

– Alastair Goldfisher is the Editor-in-Charge of the Venture Capital Journal, a Thomson Reuters publication. –

Venture capitalists and cloud storage companies are picking up in 2011 where they left off in 2010.

San Jose, California-based Cirtas Systems, a provider of cloud storage hardware, announced on Tuesday it has raised a $22.5 million Series B round that was co-led by Shasta Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners and included previous investors New Enterprise Associates, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Amazon.

Online backup crucial for small businesses

– Vance Checketts is the VP of Operations for online storage company Mozy. The opinions expressed are his own. –

Among the myriad challenges small and medium businesses (SMBs) are currently facing, data loss is an often unanticipated – but very real – cause of revenue and productivity loss.

Businesses of all sizes depend on files and email stored on desktops, laptops, and servers for their very survival. Natural disaster, theft, or even something as commonplace as a cup of coffee spilled on a laptop is not just an IT nightmare. Such events can literally put a small business out of business.