Primadesk is one of 53 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2011 event taking place this week in Palm Desert, Calif. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.
Many startup ideas are born from frustration. That’s the way it was for Srinivasa Venkataraman and Conrad Herrman, founders of Primadesk. They hated how it was such a hassle to access a bunch of different online accounts and was even harder still to transfer data such as personal photos from one site to the next. So they created Primadesk as a personal cloud that allows users to manage, search and backup a bunch of online accounts from a single dashboard view.
The Novato, Calif.-based company, which is debuting today at DEMO Spring 2011, makes it easy for consumers to access their data from the cloud. You can view your Flickr or Facebook photos altogether from a single view and search through them to find what you want. You can also look at multiple email accounts at the same time and search for messages through multiple accounts as if you were searching through a single account.
The Primadesk application also backs up your data so you don’t have to worry about losing it. When you want to transfer a photo from one account to another, you can do so simply by dragging and dropping it.
Venkataraman, chief executive and president, said in an interview that the Internet, or “cloud,” has been a great solution for people wanting to access accounts from anywhere. But life with the cloud is getting really complicated, starting with the fact that it’s hard to remember lots of logins and passwords and it’s not safe to use just a single login name and password across all accounts. Microsoft Research says that the average Web user now has 25 online accounts.
My worry about something like Primadesk is whether it would run slowly because it’s pulling content from so many places. But in the remote demo that I saw, the changes happened pretty fast. You could search through your online content by topic, date range, and content type. You can centralize online storage accounts, allowing you to access data from storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Docs, and SugarSync — and then manage them from a single location. You can easily copy files from one place to another, back them up, and sign on to all accounts at once.
Soon, you will be able to access messages from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. And the photo management will be available soon as well. The application is free but you can pay for premium functionality. Venkataraman says that most online accounts can be accessed via Primadesk. One exception is iTunes, since Apple does not allow you to move purchased content from one account to another. An added benefit of Primadesk is that you can log in from any device — a smartphone, tablet, or laptop — and be able to access all of your accounts.
Rivals include Greplin, Threadsy, and CloudMagic. But no solution lets users view all their content in one place, and Primadesk allows for more interaction with data. Users configure their accounts within Primadesk. When they log in, the app gets their information from the services and displays it. Venkataraman says the company is targeting advocates, active users and power users. So far, beta users have moved more than 1.25 million files around.
Primadesk was founded in 2009 and it has 10 employees. Funding has come from friends and family. Venkataraman previously was chief executive of Appstream, which was acquired by Symantec, and he was vice president of research and development at Zone Labs, which was acquired by Checkpoint. Hermann, chief technology officer, was co-founder and CTO of Zone Labs and an architect at Borland.