Deals

YC startup Ink raises $1.8M to make software more open-minded

396679_486613928027892_2035911425_nY-Combinator startup Filepicker.io has rebranded as Ink and announced the close of its $1.8 million seed round.

The “file system as a service” startup went through YC’s Summer 2012 class. It builds tools to make it easier for developers to integrate access to cloud services within their apps on the web, iOS, and Android, making it easier to share content stored in different places. The company’s mission is to create an environment where all devices, applications, and services can talk to each other. Ink builds “the layer that lets the applications work together” so users can access whatever they need online, regardless of their connectivity point.

The original team of 4 — Liyan Chang, Anand Dass, Thomas Georgiou, and Brett van Zuiden — met at MIT in Fall 2011.

“We noticed that more and more people are using services like Dropbox and Facebook to store their files, but that those online file sources didn’t work well with mobile and web applications,” the founders said on the site. “As developers ourselves, we were frustrated by the time and effort we had to spend on these integrations, which took away from our ability to focus on core functionality that mattered to the user. Wanting to help other developers build better applications, faster, we built up the infrastructure needed so that these developers could hook into user’s content, wherever it lives.”

They went on to win the MIT 2012 $100K Entrepreneurship Competition and move to the Bay Area, where they were admitted into YC. As their technology and client base grew, they realized they needed a brand that could grow too. Filepicker.io turned into Ink File Picker, which grew into Ink Files, a “cross-browser filesystem SDK.”

“With the new name and logo, we wanted a brand that could grow with us as we build out more products beyond just picking files,” CEO Brett van Zuien said. “Also, as we invest more resources in the design and user experience of our products, we didn’t want the logo to not match the quality of the rest of the design.”

The startup now works with 20,000 web and mobile applications to connect them to photos, documents, and videos, and has transferred 1.1 billion files to date. Clients include SurveyMonkey, Livefyre, Udacity, Crowdtilt, Urbanspoon, Rapgenius, Fitocracy and Haiku Deck. using just two lines of code, these companies can connect their apps to 19 sources like Facebook, Dropbox, Gmail and GitHub, and File Picker will “handle the mess of uploading files” as well as all the javascript and backend APIs. The business is based on a freemium model. Up to 5000 files a month is free,  and then it costs $99 for a Pro plan with up to 50,000 files a month.

Andreessen Horowitz and Highland Capital Partners led this round. Filepicker is based in Palo Alto.

Photo Credit: Filepicker.io/Facebook