Talking tech since 2003

Plug, a device which transforms your USB devices into a personalized Dropbox, has surpassed its Kickstarter goal in 12 hours, raising more than $190,000 at last check.  The $69 device, which is a little bigger than a thumb drive, is a game-changer for data storage, turning any piece of storage space you have into a personal cloud, which can be synced across all devices.

Severin Marcombes, CEO & co-founder of Cloud Guys, the startup that launched Plug, is ecstatic about the success on Kickstarter.

“We were planning to get maybe $5k or maximum $10k of funding from our friends and family on the first day of the campaign, when we woke up in the morning our $69k goal was already met!” Marcombes said.  ” It’s great, and it’s crazy. Great because it proves people do like the project, and crazy because two days ago we were seriously talking about what would happen if the Kickstarter campaign was a complete fail.”

The Plug adapter is designed to be kept at home, connected to a USB external hard drive and the Internet (via ethernet cable).  It relies on external USB hard drives to store the content of all the user’s devices (so limits on space depend on the amount of storage space you have on your USB drives).  Users only need to connect a USB drive to Plug, and Plug unifies the content of their devices. After “plugging” a first drive, a user having a Mac and/or a PC will see the exact same content on both of them.  You can even use a USB hub to expand the storage capacity of your Plug, for every additional drive plugged, his or her devices will become “bigger.”  This means you don’t necessarily have to worry about not having enough storage capacity on your smartphone or tablet.

Marcombes, who initially planned for 100 devices to be shipped by December, said that they are seeing potential for more backers and the possibility of ramping up production plans.

“Some parts of Plug seem like dark magic, so we went technical with some backers. People are offering for help and want us to succeed,” Marcombes said.  “We may have more orders than initially expected. We are in talks with our manufacturer to check if producing more devices will be possible.”

Plug, which claims to be 60x faster and 20x cheaper than the cloud, has a USB 2.0 connector and a 100Mbit Ethernet port, so streaming large files will be slower than if you had a USB 3.0 connector and a gigabit port, however, I am betting the company will come out with a newer version after initial production with a USB 3.0 connection and gigabit port.  To combat some potential latency issues, Plug allows you to cache folders and files on your local hard drive, in addition to streaming them from Plug, so streaming times could be decreased that way.

The Plug software works on your desktop/laptop computer, your mobile devices as an app, and even some TVs, making it super easy to access all your files wherever you are.  Plug also allows users to access their files offline, by downloading them locally to the device.  Additionally, Plug keeps a version history of files, so if you accidentally overwrite a file with the wrong information, you can easily restore it back to an older version.

The Kickstarter campaign still has 58 days to go, so it will be interesting to see where the funding ends up.  Marcombes expects to start production after funds are collected following the Kickstarter campaign.  For now, he probably needs some rest.

“We didn’t sleep for two days,” Marcombes said. “People are awesome!”


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