This file sharing startup doesn't want your data

by Andreas Rekdal
September 1, 2017

If the internet is your primary means of communication, you probably have far more sensitive files and documents floating around than you realize. Scattered across servers all over the world, those files could fall into the wrong hands at any moment — and you wouldn’t even know it.

Binfer, a Chicago-based startup, wants to make that risk a thing of the past. Its plan for doing so is to never store your data in the first place.

“We move data and information directly between two devices without storing anything in a third-party system,” said founder and CEO Imran Ahmed. “We let users create a direct connection between the sending party and the receiving party, then we transfer their files securely.”

In addition to bringing security benefits, said Ahmed, direct transfers are faster than the alternative because the upload and download process are happening simultaneously. That can make a big difference, particularly when sending large files.

“Since the '70s, technology has revolved around a hub-and-spoke model — it’s a lot like renting a storage container, driving there to drop off your package and then sending the key to the recipient so they can pick it up,” said Ahmed. “We’re more akin to FedEx.”

Binfer transfers data by establishing a virtual private network between the sender and the recipient. Although that approach is not in itself new, it has traditionally required users on both ends to install custom software, keys and certificates. Binfer, by contrast, establishes the connection without any manual setup.

Binfer also lets its users share links to files and document drops, which can be accessed from any device with a web browser. On the recipient’s end, these functions appear to work in the same way any other file sharing service would, so long as the original sender’s device is online.

The startup’s core application is only available in a desktop version, but mobile applications are currently under development, Ahmed said. Those applications also include a suite of messaging, chat and document collaboration tools.

Although industries with strict data security requirements make up a significant portion of the startup’s addressable market, Ahmed said the technology is also well-suited for companies that need to move large amounts of data over slow or unreliable internet connections.

“Two of our clients in the shipping industry use us to synchronize data between vessels on the ocean and their home bases,” he said. “This is the most difficult environment you can imagine. They’re mostly using satellite phone connections, they’re constantly moving, and they keep entering new networks in port.”

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in 1871, Binfer currently has four full-time employees. Ahmed expects that number to reach 20 by the end of the year. The company is currently making hires in digital marketing, sales and business development.


Image via Binfer.

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