Thursday, February 16, 2012
Interview with Dale Quayle, FileTrek
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
Consumers have dozens of choices if they want to share their files with others on the Internet, however, if you're a corporate user, there just aren't the same number of options. To address that, Los Angeles-based FileTrek (www.filetrek.com) announced a funding round for its cloud-based software for sharing enterprise and business files yesterday. We spoke with Dale Quayle, the firm's CEO, about the funding and company. Dale's last firm, Integrien, was sold to VMware in 2010.
What is FileTrek?
Dale Quayle: The best way to think about it, is FileTrek is entering into the enterprise collaboration space. We're focusing on what we believe is a collision course between the desires of the mobile workforce--people like you and me who use their iPad, Android, or iPhone to get to our data and stuff and share it with other people--and the desires of business to make sure they can securely provide that information to both employees and people outside. What our software does, is it allows that collaboration to take place, but also keeps track of that. Users can share and sync and access their data from everywhere, and we keep track of where it's going, who is sharing it, what the genealogy of that data is, and can report on all of that history.
Is this a mobile application, web service, or how does it work?Dale Quayle: We provide a desktop client that sits on a PC or your Mac, whatever your user is working from. We also have a web experience, and we host that on Amazon EC2. If you go to FileTrek.com, you can access your data via web or PC. You can also access that same experience on your iPad or Android, and so on, and next quarter we will have a native iOS app.
How is this different than other online file storage and backup services?
Dale Quayle: If you could compare us to Box.net or Dropbox, services which also allow you to share and synchronize your files ot the could, we can do that. But, we also have the ability to track data from pace to place. A good use case is where you're building a business plan, which incorporates a spreadsheet and PowerPoint, and written documentation worked on by half a dozen people in a project. We keep track of all of the people in a project, the components they are working on, and versions of all of those documents that exist, and how they've developed overtime. If you cut and paste components of that spreadsheet into PowerPoint, we keep track of the file map, and how that all came together.
What kind of clients would find this useful?
Dale Quayle: The answer is, anybody who is interested in keeping track of their intellectual property, and how that data goes out into the world. The natural verticals are financial services, healthcare, anyone who needs regulatory compliance. Right now, there are mobility solutions entering the enterprise without any real security. Your data is going to the cloud, and you don't know what data is walking out of your business. If you go to the enterprise, they won't allow a Dropbox or box because of that reason. We're an alternative to those services. Companies who might find that interesting are in the life sciences, financial services, anyone who needs version recognition and tracking would be a good fit for our solution.
It looks like there is some story behind how you ended up at FileTrek and the company ended up in Los Angeles--the firm was in Canada?
Dale Quayle: The company was founded out of Ottawa, Canada. One of the investors, Anthem Ventures, is here in Los Angeles, which is how I got involved. We are going to continue to run engineering and development work out of Canada, because there are great advantages for companies in doing that. Our sales and marketing will be in Los Angeles.
Aren't enterprise companies nervous about any sort of cloud storage service (security, availability, etc.)?
Dale Quayle: I think you're right about that. There are a lot of enterprises, and particularly in high risk verticals like we talked about, who are very nervous about the public cloud and applications. For that reason, we actually offer a version of the software, which is deployed in a virtual private cloud, behind the firewall. You can host it in the public cloud if you like, however. We provide all of the security measures you need in a world class enterprise solution, but if people choose to use the public cloud, they can. But, there are many financial services providers who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in their own data centers, and we give them that option, too.
What are you doing with the new funding round?
Dale Quayle: We raised a $10M round, and most of that money will be used in expanding our sales and marketing efforts. We're also pouring an awful lot of effort into our back end engineering of the project. I think there is lots of work which will be very important to meet different vertical needs. So, part of the funding is for expansion of the business, the rest is for continuing to innovate with our product.
What's the next steps for you?
Dale Quayle: I think the biggest thing we're most excited about, is launching the company, and are excited about getting the product out and people using it. Early users in our community have been universally positive. On the product side, we're going to continue to innovate, and our new iPad app I'm extremely excited about. We're also doing some interesting things about security and policy, which will be important for the enterprise. We're also asking all of customers to think outside the box--syncing and sharing data is the easy part. Figuring out where that data is traveling, and who's touching it, so that it's safe and secure is hard, and that's the piece which we're going to excel in providing solutions for.