Younity launches as a personal cloud service

Bambi Francisco Roizen · December 4, 2012 · Short URL:

Connecting all your devices so that you can access all your content just got easier

When I converted to a Mac in 2006, I did so in the future I could acces my content across all my Apple devices. But today, that's not really a reality. I still have content that resides solely on my iPhone or my iPad or my MacBook. I know there's ways to get around this. There's syncing my devices. And, there's the iCloud option, which has already hit max capacity. But those options, if not complicated, are time-consuming.

Now there's something that sounds a lot simpler. It's called Younity, which as of Tuesday morning is available for Mac and iOS devices, and Windows computers.

Younity, a product created by Entangled Media, allows users to connect their devices so the content that resides on all the devices can be accessed from any of the devices. So if you have movies on your computer, and videos on your iPhone, you can access both from your iPad without having to transfer those movies onto the iPad. The videos and music collections are streamed. 

"Younity creates a personal cloud for all of your devices," said Erik Caso, CEO at Entangled Media, in an interview. "There’s 250 million people who have three or more Internet devices, such as a desktop, laptop, phone, tablet. They then create and buy an enormous amount of content across these devices. This creates the multi-device condundrum. You have to use a specific device because that’s where the content is. 

"Younity fills that void by making all your devices inherently connected."

So how does this work?

Just download the Younity app on your devices. Younity then creates a personal private cloud for your files across all your devices by essentially turning them into cloud servers. User information is private and never stored online because Younity never stores your data. That data is stored on your own devices. 

Once you make an account and connect all your devices to that account, you can start accessing the photos from your iPhone on your iPad and the PPTs from your desktop on your iPad. 

The service is free for now, even if you have one terabyte of files, which is the average number of files a person has across multiple devices. This number if forcasted to grow to 2.2TB per household in 2013. In the future, Younity will likely charge for multiple devices. So the first three devices may be free, but the fourth one would cost. The pricing has yet to be determined.

Beyond just being able to access all your photos from all devices, Younity converts audio and video no matter the file format to ensure it plays on your devices, even if the file formats are not supported by iOS. It also streams music and videos to AppleTV or any AirPlay-enabled TV or stereo. 

Entangled Media is part of the Mucker Lab Fall 2012 class, which is currently in session. The five-person team has already secured $1.2 million in seed funding from a number of angels, including Brian Lee and Henry Parry-Okeden

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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younity creates a personal cloud for all your files, built from your devices and your online services, so that all your devices work as if they were a single device. With younity, you can grab whichever device is most convenient without ever thinking about where a file is.

younity is a ubiquitous data protocol that integrates into device OSes, making them inherently multi-device aware. With younity, users can use any device they own and have access to any file as if it was stored locally on that device, regardless of available storage. With younity, devices simply become screens. Customer Problem:  Consumers today are overwhelmingly multi-device users, yet OSes are still designed around single device usage. Consumers have lots of data stuck on their devices. They are unable to put it all in the cloud and/or it costs too much; existing solutions are also management intensive, requiring constant user interaction.

Solution / Product:  younity makes all a consumer’s devices work as if they were a single device. By extracting the file system from an OS and putting it into the cloud, younity establishes a singular file system from multiple devices that is pushed back into the native OS. Thus, the OS does not know where files are stored – on the local hard drive, on another device or some online service or all of those places. This eliminates a file’s stored address from a device to an identity. Any device registered to a user has all that person’s files and all devices look the exact same. The only difference between devices is whether there is enough storage to store local or virtual copies.

 Competitors:  younity is most similar to iCloud. However, unlike iCloud, younity is OS agnostic, application agnostic, file-type agnostic, vastly easier to use and cheap or free for any amount of data. 

Target Market:  Consumers with 3 or more Internet-enabled devices (over 220M people in the US alone). Research shows: the average household will have 2.2TB of data by 2013; consumers will have an average of 5.8 devices/person by 2015; and 51% of households have both MS and Apple products (as of late 2011). Data synchronization products that accommodate partial data start at about $450/year for 250GB of online storage, with utility online storage costing vastly more. There are currently no cross-platform solutions for users that can accommodate all their data, let alone deliver it into their native device functionality.

Questions and Answers

Q. You've been around since 2010, What's the traction been like?

A. The idea for younity was born in 2010, but the company was angel funded and started hiring in summer of 2011. Our product is not a strong fit for "lean methodology"- it is enormously complicated and simply requires a lot of hands working the keyboard to make it work (typical for heavy duty, client-server software). 

The additional challenge was making it simple for consumers. After hiring our team late in 2011, we were able to take our prototype and get a private beta done by July, then launch into public beta in December 2012. Traction has been good since launching in December 2012, we've been adding thousands of users/month and engagement is high.

Q. How are you marketing this? Is there a viral component?

A. Our product is inherently personal (it's a "personal cloud"), which makes the viral coefficient low. However, we've been developing a unique way for people to share any file that is stored on any device making them sharable directly to another person via a private Facebook post. This will be launched the week of Vator Splash.

Q. What's the distribution model? What's the business model? How much will you be charging for this service?

A. younity has a direct to consumer strategy and will be offered as a freemium service that is free for up to 3 devices. For 4 or more, there is a flat annual fee that we anticipate will be around $24/year (although we have not finalized this yet). Other than the limit on devices, the free version of younity is not limited in any way- it is the same as the premium version.

Q. Where do you go from here? What other services could you offer?

A. Currently we are working with a variety of app vendors to enable offline data in their apps via our API. As a ubiquitous data protocol, younity is really about unifying data around a user's identity. This has a variety of applications, with younity being the first. 

Q. Is this a consumer-only product? Are you making something for the enterprise?

A. For now, we are focused on leading in the consumer market. However, we are well aware of a variety of enterprise applications to enable an on-premise younity server with a policy engine attached to it. In fact, we regularly are asked if this would be available now (it isn't).


Brian Lee

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Erik Caso

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Product guy and CEO of Entangled Media, where we're trying to make the Internet work better for you.

Henry Parry-Okeden

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