A Q&A with Minbox co-founder and CEO Alexander Mimran. The company’s service launched earlier this week after closing an $800,000 Seed funding round. Investors include Rho Ventures, Correlation Ventures, George Zachary of Charles River Ventures and Dave Cohen of Bullet Time Ventures.
SUB: Please describe Minbox and your value proposition.
Mimran: Minbox, a beautifully designed Mac app, let’s you send files of any size in seconds—all for free. No more waiting for the upload to complete; no more accepting shared folder invites that take up space on your hard drive or in your Dropbox folder. Just drag, drop and send.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Mimran: We’re targeting creative professionals like photographers, videographers, designers, musicians, architects, illustrators, etc. Anyone who has to share files on a regular basis via email and hates having to deal with the mess that comes with other services.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Mimran: Our closest competitors would be Dropbox and Yousendit. We offer a free solution for sharing files—just like they do—but we don’t have storage limitations. We let users send big files as often as they want, all for free. If users want to store files beyond 30 days, we ask them to upgrade to Minbox Pro—coming soon.
The cloud-storage space is focused on ‘backup’ and ‘sync,’ but a large component is neglected—that’s ‘send.’ We all send files on a daily basis and believe there are still too many pain points associated with the process—we’re focused on easing that pain.
SUB: What differentiates Minbox from the competition?
Mimran: The biggest difference between us and our competitors is our focus on design. The Minbox user experience is minimal, responsive, and carefully crafted around the needs of people who share frequently, specifically creatives such as photographers, designers, videographers,—GoPro users love Minbox—architects, and more. No need to pull up a webpage to login; no need to hunt for an email address in your address book to then paste it somewhere else; and most of all, no need to wait for the upload to finish—it completes in the background after you press send.
SUB: When was the company founded, what was the inspiration behind the idea, and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Mimran: The company was founded in 2012. It was previously a smart email client for iOS. We had a lot of great features, one of them was unlimited file attachment support. Our users, some of which were photographers, loved that one specific feature, so we decided to narrow our focus and build a reduced version of our original product, but as a Mac app. It allowed us to shed a lot of product weight, move faster, and put our energy towards something that solves an immediate and pervasive pain point. However, our messaging DNA is still visible in the product, as you can see.
SUB: You recently raised $800,000 in Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Mimran: The market was a lot more responsive when we raised our initial round. Now there is less hope that companies will get past a Series A so angels are more reluctant. As with all markets, it should normalize, but we definitely had good timing.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Mimran: The hardest thing to do in a startup is build something people want and will use. We spent months finding out what that was and now, based on customer feedback, we feel confident that what we’ve created is pretty ‘hot.’
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Mimran: We plan to offer a premium service called Minbox Pro with awesome features. Stay tuned for more.
SUB: What are your goals for Minbox over the next year or so?
Mimran: We want to be a player in the file storage space, focusing on sending and delivery. We’ll be releasing more apps and improving our experience in the weeks and months to come.
Minbox – www.minbox.com