There are plenty of advantages of using cloud storage – avoiding the loss precious data due to a dodgy hard drive for example, and being able to access files online from anywhere. New kid on the block doctape hopes to cause a stir amongst more established sites with its take on the concept, with software-independent file viewing and sharing tools.
That means if someone shares a PowerPoint presentation but you don’t have the right software to access it, you can still view it in the platform itself. The service supports more than 80 file types, while doctape’s timeline-based system, coupled with labels, allows users to group files. Thus you can easily keep videos, word documents or audio files together, be they for work projects or just to share holiday snaps.
Based in Hannover and founded by Sascha Reuter and Sven Hohlfeld in 2010, doctape went into closed beta in June 2011. It has so far attracted investment from Christian Vollmann, founder of eDarling and MyVideo, Martin Sinner, founder of idealo, Heiko Hubertz, founder of BigPoint, and Frank Biedka, a shareholder in Zalando.
However it’s already pretty crowded in the cloud with competition like JustCloud, SugarSync and Egnyte all jostling for space. Meanwhile, global market leader Dropbox last month reported hitting 100 million registered users, while Google Drive picked up 10 million users within two months of its April 2012 launch.
Built off the Node.js platform, which eBay, LinkedIn and Microsoft use, doctape will need to be different to attract users. Yet Sascha is confident that the design will win over their target users – freelancers and small groups. He said: “Compared to others, sharing is much more flexible and you can even share single files without stuffing them in a dedicated folder for this purpose. And if you share stuff often with the same group of people, you can write those people on a tape label and even allow others to add files to the tape to be shared with the group.”
All of the group would have to have doctape, but the service offers 5GB of free storage – just like Google Drive. The software independence also means that any group of people don’t all have to sync what they are using.
There is also integration with Google Docs, allowing for in-browser editing, which notifies other group members of any changes made to files. With each account also comes an email address allowing users to send files directly to cloud storage, while the doctape iPhone app covers the mobile space.
Whether these small features can help doctape carve out its own niche in the market remains to be seen, but they do help make it more than just somewhere to plonk your files – like the more straight forward services offered by JustCloud, SugarSync, and Egnyte.
The startup has yet to announce what its premium features will entail – but Sascha did say they are hoping to reward their users who recommend the service.