Talk May Be Cheap But Bringing Chat to File Sharing Meant $3M for this Startup


social cloud

Everything seems to be going social these days, and why should your files be an exception? Especially when they’re primarily there to be shared or you’re collaborating with a team or client.  Now your Dropbox and Google Drive files are going social, too. Whenever or with whomever you so choose, of course!

FileChat is the free application that brings a social layer to your Dropbox and Google Drive files. Anyone can create a real-time conversation and make collaborating just that much easier, across multiple devices (desktop, Android and iOS).

CEO Alberto Escarlate tells us about how FIleChat is adding the social layer to cloud storage.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise? Was it seed, Series A, B, etc?

The round was done by private investors from France and their names are undisclosed. It was a $3 million seed round.

Tell us about your product.

FileChat is a social layer on top of your Dropbox or Google Drive folders. We allow a group to have a real-time conversation around files.

What inspired you to start the company?

This was a product originally created by a French team of entrepreneurs to allow better team collaboration with their internal teams. It worked so well that they decided to make it a business.

How is it different?

There are a number of enterprise chat products that allow people to bring files to conversations. We turned it around and we bring conversations to files. Most of work today is conducted by exchanging files. So we make it very easy.

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

The market is quite big: anyone who uses Dropbox, Google Drive or any other cloud-storage systems is our target.

What sorts of files generate the most chatter?

It depends on the nature of the groups that interact.

We see agencies and dev shops collaborating a lot internally, but also creating FileChats to collaborate with clients, as it makes it much easier to get feedback from them.

Startups love us too because it’s a lightweight product that can be used by design/developer/product teams.

Another use case we see is of families sharing photos with friends and relatives. It’s very private and much safer than traditional social networks.

What’s your business model?

The product is free for now. We’ll be introducing paid premium features as well, such as unlimited number of FileChats, in the near feature.

What was the fundingprocess like?

The investors were familiar with the company and had previous success with the founders and the team, so it wasn’t a hard sell.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

The huge potential market, the quality of the product and the trust that the team is capable of creating a world-class business.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

The focus in the next six months is two-fold.  Refine FileChat, based on user feedback to make it outstanding. Grow the user base by taking advantage of the viral nature of the product.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Iterate quickly and don’t wait too long before you have users telling you that they love or hate your product. Even early stage investors look for proof that a product is in the process of getting traction.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

Near term, we will be adding a number of premium features that will make it even more compelling. We’ll also add other cloud services. Plus a few secrets that we can’t share yet.

What’s your favorite spot in NYC to share a beverage on a warm evening?

I am a coffee person. My favorite spot is Cafe Integral at Grand Street in Soho.

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