Entrepreneurial

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.

Seattle startup looks for customers in the cloud

newlineWhat would happen if your laptop was lost, stolen or accidentally dropped in a pool? Would you be able to easily retrieve all the megabytes of precious content housed in its memory banks?

These are the questions that drove Seattle software developer Kory Gill to leave an almost 20-year career at Microsoft and start his own online data-storage company. For years, Gill has sought a Web-based storage solution that would safeguard his priceless family photos, home movies and other important digital data, but never found a single solution that addressed all his specific needs.

“If these are irreplaceable files, you need to have the same type of insurance for your data as you would of any other asset, like your home or car,” said Gill, who often shared his frustrations with friend and fellow Microsoft programmer Marius Nita.

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