Box.net, a company that lets you store and access files online, said it raised $6 million more in a second round financing.
The round of financing comes at a crucial time for the company, because a host of tough competitors have emerged to make online storage de rigueur.
Google, for one, is about to launch GDrive, which let you store large files, like video, music, and images, and could come free like most of other Google products. Google already lets users have a few gigabyts of storage for free in GMail, its online email service. Gmail has been steadily increasing its storage capacity. PCs carrying Microsoft’s operating system often come pre-loaded now with Norton360 as a default option, a program that backs up all your files online. Not to mention the host of smaller competitors that focus more directly on online storage: Divshare (which is free ), MyFabrik (which recently raised $24.9 million), SoonR and a bunch of others.
Box.net has sought to differentiate itself by making it as easy as possible to use, however it still takes you through a number of steps that can trip up the novice. If you want to upload entire files of documents, it makes you use an applet, which didn’t work for me the first time around.
It offers a widget, so that you can store and access files directly from any Web page. The company is being quiet on its growth, refusing to disclose active user numbers. It merely quotes 1.4 “registered users,” but that includes people who no longer use it (like me, for example).
The funding was led by venture capital firm U.S. Venture Partners, and includes Draper Fisher Jurvetson, who led the company’s first round of $1.5 million a year ago . This year it will focus more on serving large companies, and offering collaboration tools.