How the Ferreira Siblings Got Sir Richard Branson to Invest in MySocialCloud.comBrindaa Lakshmi K
India is still waiting for big investments to happen in startups owned by student entrepreneurs while a pair of student entrepreneurs in America has turned a tweet into a seed investment from Sir Richard Branson. Before I tell you more about how they managed to get the investment, let’s learn more about who they are and what they do.
As far as I can remember, the need for a username and password began with Hotmail in India followed by Yahoo, Rediff and Gmail. With the entry of social networking websites, the number of ids and passwords one has to remember has simply become endless. Let’s not forget the hard disk crashes that don’t help the situation. All the data gets erased be it bookmarks or even a document with your passwords. If you are lucky then you might be able to retrieve them else better luck next time. So what do you do when this is likely to recur?
Scott Ferreira, a student of Architecture had a similar experience in his sophomore year in college. Scott and his sister Stacey Ferreira used to work on several websites as fun projects. When Scott lost all his bookmarks and important data like usernames and passwords, this duo decided to work on something to tackle that problem. Thus MySocialCloud.com was born in May 2011. Interestingly, a home grown Indian techie, Shiv Prakash heads their technology team as CTO.MySocialCloud.com allows you to store all your usernames and passwords in the cloud apart from saving your bookmarks as well. Getting users to trust MySocialCloud.com with their id and password data was a problem that needed to be addressed. Apart from their strong security policy, MySocialCloud.com has pivoted based on user feedback to also include social bookmarking. This helps build trust with the users to share their usernames and passwords over time.
Like other social networking sites, MySocialCloud.com allows you to follow your friends to know the stuff that they have bookmarked on the internet. While at first instance, MySocialCloud’s UI might remind you of Pinterest, this website allows bookmarking of not just images but also news pieces, videos and more.
“We actually think that Pinterest can complement us. Users see Pinterest as a place to store some of the stuff they want but not all of it. We allow them to add more to that. Users find a way to complement Pinterest through our website,” shares Stacey Ferreira, Co-founder.
Stacey, a student at New York University majoring in “Music Business” has taken a year off and moved to California to work on MySocialCloud.com. This student startup based out of the Silicon Valley, currently, has over 10,000 registered users.
But their moment of glory happened when Sir Richard Branson and Jerry Murdock decided to make a seed investment in their startup. Entrepreneurship is about cashing on every possible opportunity and Stacey did just that. Sir Richard Brandson had tweeted something along the lines of “Come meet me in Miami, Florida for intimate cocktails if you donate money to a charity of my choice!” Stacey responded to the tweet and got her brother and herself the opportunity to meet Sir Richard Branson at the charity event. In the space of a month, Jerry Murdock also visited them and soon Branson and Murdock invested in this startup. The investment is being used to hire people and for infrastructure facilities like office space.Learning from the problems of other social media networks and websites like Facebook and Google, this trio plan to stay far away from advertising for revenue. They have several other revenue models that are being tested currently like enterprise packages. “Many businesses are not in the business of managing their employee data of IDs and passwords. Employees having company mail and other accounts means that they would have to be tracked. So when an employee leaves pulling the management out of the equation, we will manage it for them,” explains Stacey.
The overarching vision of MySocialCloud.com is to allow people to store and access all the things they love without barriers. Of course, an investor like Branson in MySocialCloud.com leaves me wondering – Are they the next biggies on the block? The first wave happened with Yahoo and Google opening the gateway to big data. Then along came Facebook with social networking getting more access to data. In this line of names, MySocialCloud.com could very well be the next big thing (only) if they manage to win the trust of users the world over to share their usernames and passwords. Will they manage it? What’s your bet? Leave your comments below.
Want a safe house for your usernames and passwords? Check out MySocialCloud.com