Mover makes cloud storage simpler

The Edmonton-based startup is selling an API that lets developers and cloud storage providers work together seamlessly

The business: Mover
Founders: Eric Warnke and Mark Fossen
Founded: 2011

Eric Warnke and Mark Fossen just moved their startup, Mover, into a second-storey office in Edmonton’s Mercer Building, just downstairs from Startup Edmonton. The pair have developed software that makes it simpler to transfer files between different cloud service providers or other data storage options. But rather than just sell an application, Mover is selling the technology to let developers make their own.

The story so far …

Mover got its start as Backup Box when Warnke needed a service that would move content from a web server to Dropbox. Finding that one didn’t exist, he thought others might be looking for something similar, so he put up a splash page asking people to sign up if they were interested in an app. “We had more than 700 people sign up for this one landing page for this product that didn’t exist,” he says. So Warnke and Fossen went to one of Startup Edmonton‘s Hackathons and spent two days putting together the prototype.

They grew the product from there, but it soon became obvious that the brand was too limiting. They wanted to expand beyond just backing files up onto the cloud, but the name Backup Box made that a difficult concept to sell.
The startup then managed to get involved in Vancouver’s GrowLab accelerator, despite not being based in Vancouver. Instead of applying, Warnke says he called the founders repeatedly until they let them in. “It was lucky, because it was one of the best things we ever did,” he says. With GrowLab, they worked on perfecting their pitch and expanding their vision. Instead of selling the Backup Box service, they would sell the technology behind it, an API (application programming interface) they dubbed Mover. That means developers can make similar apps without having to get the inner workings of multiple cloud storage providers to cooperate, since Mover’s already done that part of it.

Mover has applications for cloud providers themselves and not just for those who want to build apps that work with them. Clients who are considering switching from one cloud storage provider to another may hesitate when it comes to transferring their data. While moving a few gigabytes around is easier than it used to be, transporting a terabyte (1,024 gigabytes) of files is easier to do the traditional way, transferring them onto a physical hard drive and then actually transporting that drive to its destination. Mover wants to make it more efficient to move files online, so users can move large volumes of files without much hassle.

Since graduating from GrowLab, Mover’s been doing well for itself. The company has six employees and is looking to hire more. They’ve worked with several cloud storage providers, including the well-known Box.

What’s Next

Warnke says there’s still a lot to do. He and Fossen are still nailing down some of their larger clients, and they’ve soft-launched their API. They still need to do the marketing push to really put the product out there, while also getting feedback from their current developers to keep building the product. Hiring is another challenge, since they hope to double their team over the next year, but Fossen says they’re having trouble finding a seventh member for their team. “It’s been hard finding the right fit,” he says. “A lot of the people we thought might be interested and be good fits were more risk averse than we are, which is something that doesn’t really fit in this type of company.”

Fossen and Warnke are bullish about the company’s future. Data is international, after all, so they see no reason why Mover shouldn’t be, too. “Our goal is to become the de facto standard for moving data,” says Warnke. “If we wanted to do something that had a capped potential, we’d just go get jobs.”

Next Wednesday: We introduce Poppy & Barley, a custom boot-maker based out of Startup Edmonton.

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