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Yep. Bitcasa's called it quits

Underfunded biz knocked out

Analysis Cloud file storage startup Bitcasa - a firm cynics might say had an apparent death wish - has called it a day.

An odd posting on its website by CEO Brian "Tap" Taptich reads:

Bitcasa is no more, and this is not bad news. Thanks to the very hard work, generosity and persistence of a number of folks – from employees to investors and advisors – Bitcasa and its platform have become a part of something much, much bigger.

We have no doubt that Bitcasa has found the right home to fulfill a mission that has driven the company from its 2011 beginnings – to eliminate the storage and computing limitations of your connected devices, however small, in the most secure and efficient way possible.

He adds, cryptically:

We remain optimistic that, before long (and though you may not realize it), Bitcasa’s technology will yet contribute significantly to fulfilling this mission.

There was a rumour that Intel had bought it, quickly denied by Intel. It's somehow typical of Bitcasa that it can't even announce its own demise or acquisition simply.

This is a company that punched its customers in the face again and again as it struggled with its miscalculations and misconceptions around cloud storage, so much so that investors effectively gave up and left it with funding starvation and a management team that went its own sweet - and seemingly wrong - way.

The company was started by CEO Tony Gauda to offer infinite public cloud storage for $10/month in 2011 and had $1.5m of seed funding, followed by a 2012 $7m A-round and a November 2013 $13m B-round. After that the investors took fright and funding dried up, no doubt because Dropbox and other file sync and share startups were raising hundreds of millions of dollars, outspending and out-marketing Bitcasa on a galactic scale.

Gauda went in September 2013 with Brian Taptich taking on the CEO role, the fresh funding announcement following Tap's appointment. The obvious problem was that the infinite storage was costing more than the users were paying, and Bitcasa closed it down in October 2014, attributing this to low demand and abuser users who stored too much data.

Let's be quite clear here; if a supplier says storage is infinite then it's infinite and it's not possible to abuse it, by definition. Bitcasa didn't understand this and assumed a far too low average TB/user amount in its service cost calculations.

As EMC President Chad Sakac memorably said: you don't punch your customers in the face.

Bitcasa then continued messing users about. After suggesting infinite storage users should move to a $99/1TB/year or $999/10TB/year model or delete their account, it changed a 5GB consumer freemium storage deal into a 60-day trial in April 2016 and stopped offering cloud storage to consumers. But it never came up with a compelling cloud storage deal for business users, in effect letting Dropbox, Box, Egnyte and others walk all over it.

In general Bitcasa under-served its customers in comparison to both freemium and business file sync and sharers like DropBox, data protectors like Druva, and security-focussed cloud file sharers like CTERA. In El Reg storage desk's estimation, its investors didn't fund it appropriately and didn't drive executive management change.

Perhaps Bitcasa's IP has been bought. Any supplier with a central public cloud – Apple, AWS, Google, Microsoft and others for example – might want some of its tech and even some of its people. Eventually we'll find out what's happening. We might even see executive leadership and Bitcasa's board taking responsibility for their failure. And porcine aviation might happen too. ®

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