Carbonite, the Cloud Storage Provider That Could

Many people have heard of the cloud storage provider Carbonite, but few have heard the story of how it came about. Carbonite Inc., was formed in 2005 in the dining room of entrepreneur David Friend. In just under six years, it grew to great heights and became a publicly traded company.  It was started as a joint venture between David Friend and Jeff Flowers, both successful Boston-based entrepreneurs. This is the four venture for the pair. Before Carbonite they founded Pilot Software, FaxNet Corporation and Sonexis Incorporated.

Forbes recently did an interview with Friend and got the story to how it all began. He is reported as telling, “My daughter called up from college in New York to tell me that the hard drive in her laptop had crashed. She had a term paper due on Friday that she’d been working on for about two months and was all in tears. So I raced down to New York. We took the hard drive out and brought it over to one of these companies that claims they can recover data from dead hard drives. They charged me 1,300 bucks and still couldn’t get the term paper back. Two days earlier my business partner, Jeff Flowers’ wife’s laptop was stolen and along with it two years’ worth of baby picture files she never bothered to back up. Those two events coming within a few days of each other made us wonder if other people have these problems, because both Jeff’s wife and my daughter had an external hard drive that they were supposed to use for backing up, but none of them ever plugged it in and did anything with it. We thought that if we could reduce the issue of installing and using a backup solution that only involves an e-mail address and a password, then we would really have something.  In order to do that, we would have to offer unlimited backup for a flat price… We’ll offer to backup everything, and yes, we’ll lose money on the one or two percent of the customers with giant file size requirements.  But if we just back up everything and don’t miss anything, then it will be a really good service because people always forget to back certain things up, even when they’re using external hard drives.”

Though that is how the original idea was formed, the secret to Carbonites success lay in their storage model. Friend continued “Jeff came up with this new architecture that makes much more efficient use of disk space and compression techniques, requiring a lower amount of compute overhead for the amount of storage. It gave us a real, sustainable cost advantage in the marketplace.  And that was how we got started,”

Carbonite was one of the first cloud storage services to cater to both businesses and individuals alike. They have over 400 employees, and now over 50,000 SMB’s use Carbonite’s services. They showed impressive revenues of $107 million in the last year alone.

For more information on Carbonite’s cloud storage service check out our Carbonite review.

Flowers holds a B.S. and M.S. in Information and Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and attended the Northeastern University School of Business. He has around 30 years’ experience in the industry, and has worked in a diverse range of executive roles for various companies. He is currently CEO for SageCloud and has worked as: CTO for Sonexis, and CTO for FaxNet. He has also worked as VP Engineering for different companies including: ON Technology, Pilot Software, and Computer Pictures.

Friend holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Yale University and attended the Princeton University Graduate School of Engineering where he was a David Sarnoff Fellow. He has been a successful technology entrepreneur for over 25 years.