Cloud talk is taking over this week in anticipation of the launch of Google Drive. Dropbox launched link sharing. Microsoft updated SkyDrive for Macs. Google gave us 5GB in Docs. Our heads are in the cloud. Or something.
I’ll add one more announcement to the noise: Boston-based OfficeDrop has refreshed its product. The B2B-focused cloud storage provider now accepts files of any type and has doubled the size of its storage plans to accommodate for it.
Since the company’s focus is on the ability to scan and upload files from devices, which are then indexed as PDFs, OfficeDrop also upgraded its back-end to make that process faster. Oh, and the link sharing function Dropbox just announced has been a feature at OfficeDrop for some time now.
The four-year-old company has flown relatively under the radar, operating on a mere $1 million angel round from White Owl Capital. Healy Jones, former VC with Atlas Ventures, runs marketing for the company. He said he “wouldn’t be surprised,” if OfficeDrop raised a larger Series A round later this year. “There’s a lot of innovation in this space, and we need to make sure we have feature parity with the big guys,” he said.
Money has apparently not been an issue during the company’s four years of existence because of its OEM model. OfficeDrop isn’t profitable yet, but most months it hovers around the break-even mark, Jones said.
The company will announce an OEM deal in June that will have OfficeDrop shipping on a new mobile device, Jones said. Right now it also offers white label storage; its biggest customer is Nuance Communications, which uses OfficeDrop’s cloud as a white label product called PaperPort. The company is working on several more white label deals and talking to Internet service providers and cable companies, in hopes it will be the cloud service provider that they offer in their bundles of products.
That seems a little odd, until you think of people like my grandmother, who recently asked me what the cloud is. She might decide to move her files there, and she might opt to buy those services from her cable company, from whom she already purchases her phone, Internet, and television. Sure, she could use DropBox for free, or Google Drive, or Microsoft SkyDrive, but it would be generally easier for her to scan and transfer existing paper files with OfficeDrop’s mobile scanning features, especially if the app is already on her tablet. (First step, get my grandmother an iPad.)
And that is sort of the point: OfficeDrop is all about eliminating paper. (If only it could also eliminate those idiotic green “Please consider the environment, and don’t print this email” signatures.) The announcement to expand its services comes as its user base hits 130,000, up from 100,000 at the end of February, and 50,000 in November of last year.
The growth is partly driven by OfficeDrop’s mastery of “App SEO.” Through plenty of keyword experimentation, OfficeDrop has figured out how to make its app one of the top choices in search for cloud storage on an iPad, iPhone, or tablet. Android and iOS have different search engines, and optimizing there is just as important as doing so for Web search, Jones said. “We have cracked the code,” he said.