Fasetto Raises $5M, Will Start Selling 1TB Wearable In 2016
If you’ve ever dreamed of walking around wearing a terabyte of data storage—and being able to exchange data wirelessly, at breakneck speeds, to and from any Wi-Fi-enabled device, even with no Internet connection—you’ll only need to wait another six months.
Superior, WI-based Fasetto has developed a solid state drive, called “Link,” that can be worn as a bracelet or clipped to the hip, among other places. The 10-employee startup began by developing cloud storage software, which it continues to sell, and has since moved into wearables, says CEO Coy Christmas.
Link has fitness-tracking features and is waterproof up to 15 meters, making it ideal for mountain bikers and skiers who use GoPro cameras to record videos of their extreme feats, and don’t want to have to worry about how much storage they have available. Or, you could put all your movies and music on the device before visiting a friend.
Link will be available for purchase starting in March 2016, says Christmas. The device starts at $200 for 128 gigabits of storage and the terabyte model will sell for $800, with two other options in between, he says.
Fasetto has raised over $5 million since 2014, says Christmas. The majority of investment dollars have come from Wisconsin angels, many of whom live in the northern part of the state near Superior, he says.
Christmas declined to share the startup’s most recent valuation, saying only that Fasetto has “given up very little of the company.”
The idea for Fasetto originated in 2013. Christmas and his business partner Luke Malpass were developing education software, and needed a place to store communications among students, teachers, parents, and administrators. They scratched that itch by creating a place to keep files for themselves, Christmas says.
“We built this framework called Fasetto and built the cloud storage on [top],” he says. “Our cloud storage seemed to catch on so we focused on that.”
The cloud storage market is crowded, with companies that have raised capital at billion-dollar valuations like Dropbox, Box, and Google, which in November announced that its file-sharing service Drive had attracted 240 million active users.
But Fasetto’s software, which can be used independently of Link, has three things those services don’t, Christmas says. First, data can be shared without an Internet connection, through the company’s proprietary transportation technology, called “Arch.” (He says Fasetto has over 20 patents or patents pending.) Christmas says Arch “analyzes the data being sent and will send the data the fastest possible way.” For offline users, that means using Bluetooth or a signal originating from the device’s Wi-Fi chip, such as 11ac.
Second, Fasetto has built-in messaging; according to its website, Fasetto is “the only cloud storage program with chat capabilities.”
Third, Fasetto users, of whom Christmas says there are nearly 1 million, can choose to store their data on servers in the U.S. or in Europe. This functionality was designed partially in response to the details of National Security Agency surveillance programs Edward Snowden revealed in 2013.
Fasetto gives users who sign up for its cloud file-sharing service 10 gigabits of free storage. Beyond that, it’s $10 a month for 100 gigabits. The service is available on the three most popular mobile operating systems—Android, iOS, and Windows—but the desktop version is still under development.
In addition to selling consumers cloud storage and, soon, wearables, Fasetto works with “a couple dozen businesses,” Christmas says, including the Superior office of real estate company Re/Max.
An exit may be in Fasetto’s future, says Christmas. Its investors “probably want to go in the direction of an IPO,” he says. But, he added, once Link hits the market, larger companies may come to see Fasetto as an acquisition target.
For now, the company is preparing to show off Link at the International Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Christmas says Fasetto’s biggest challenge at the moment is adding staff. The company will need to hire more software developers if it is to “grow as fast as we want to grow,” he says.
One hurdle when it comes to bringing in talent is Fasetto’s location. Superior has a population below 30,000, and the city’s winters are harsh, even by Midwestern standards.
But Christmas, who moved to Superior in 2008, says he’s committed to keeping the company where it is.
“We love it up here,” he says. “It’s a good community, our investors have been solid, and the city and state have been very helpful. It’s a great place to be.”