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What’s bigger than big data? The mammoth-sized hassle associated with moving it. And therein lies one venti-sized opportunity for file transfer startup Caffeinated Mind.

The Y Combinator alum is out with a pilot version of a hyper-speed product called Expresso designed to move big data — we’re talking about terabytes of data — faster than you can say “file transfer.”

Caffeinated Mind launched in March 2011 with Sendoid, an in-browser transfer service for large files. The product is currently being used by thousands of people, but the three-person company now believes it can better solve the data transfer conundrum for larger-than-life files, co-founder John Egan explained in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat.

“The standard way to move a 100 GB file is to wrap it up in a box on a hard drive and put in overnight FedEx,” Egan said.


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“Companies that historically didn’t really think of themselves as organizations that had to deal with big data are suddenly finding themselves in these scenarios where they have to move these huge data files around — primarily up to the cloud or between data centers,” he explained. “Thanks to AWS and Rackspace, everyone now has access to really high speed networks and really fast hardware, and as they want to move these big chunks of information around, the standard is still FedEx.”

Expresso represents the company’s attempt to make big data portability simple and cheap. The product is a single-command startup server that can be deployed in the cloud or on a server or local workstation. When installed, it lets any organization perform rapid data ingest in the browser over an accelerated UDP (User Datagram Protocol) channel.

That’s a pretty technical description, so let’s break it down a bit. If you’re a filmmaker like Peter Jackson, for instance, and you need to get your dailies from New Zealand back to your studio heads in Hollywood, you have a new friend in Expresso. Instead of needing to burn the unedited footage onto a hard drive and ship it overnight, Jackson can drop the enormous file onto an Expresso server in Los Angeles and have it transfer over an accelerated network in seconds.

The Expresso server leverages a variety of open source projects from the academic realm, Egan said. The startup also turned to its connections in the networking and movie industries to research the problem and develop its perky transfer solution.

Other than media, movie and production folks, who might this type of rapid transfer technology appeal to? A growing population of companies with extreme transfer needs, Egan said. The list includes companies in the engineering and architecture space that need to move huge CAD files across the world, research institutions working on genome sequencing, and businesses that need to perform analytics on their massive sales data sets.

Expresso quietly launched in private beta days ago. Caffeinated Mind is offering the big data transfer service free of charge for the time being. Interested organizations can get priority access to the pilot by entering “venturebeat” in the priority access code field during signup.

Caffeinated Mind is based in San Francisco. The startup initially raised money for Sendoid and says it is looking to raise a new round for the Expresso endeavor.

[Image via javaturtle/Flickr]

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