The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.
Quick Pitch: Minus is a simple and easy way to share files universally across all devices.
Genius Idea: Bulk file sharing — up to 100 files in a single gallery — with one tiny URL.
The activity of sharing content via web or mobile — whether it’s photos, music, videos, files or documents — is only going to increase with time. Such is the belief of Minus, a New York-based file sharing startup that hopes to serve the growing sharing needs of web and mobile users with its universally accessible tool.
You can use Minus to upload files of any type, simply by dragging and dropping them from your desktop to the browser. The service then makes it simple to share your files as galleries with a short URL, embed them elsewhere on the web or post them to social sites.
Minus also has nascent community elements to it; you can find and follow other users, and collaboratively edit galleries with other users. Co-founders John Xie and Carl Hu say they’re looking to add even more community-centric features.
More importantly, Minus, say Xie and Hu, is meant to be universal. And universal it is. The startup has desktop applications for Windows, Mac and Ubuntu, mobile applications for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone 7, browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, a Chrome web application and even an API for developer integrations.
“We started Minus because we wanted to tackle the issue of file sharing and photo sharing, and to make it simple and easy for people to do so,” Xie says. “A lot of services out there get super complicated … we wanted to execute and improve on those features. The power of the application is making it simple and minimal for users.”
Early users appear to be drawn to the service for spontaneous sharing, the co-founders report. The startup, soft-launched in October 2010, has attracted 500,000 active users and sees more than 50 million pageviews per day.
Minus is, for now, completely free of charge and lacks restrictions — the only caveat is a 200MB file size limitation. The startup just closed a $1 million seed round of funding from IDG Capital Partners, which will allow it to remain free until it finds an appropriate business model.
Ultimately, Xie and Hu hope to create a file-sharing service that stands the test of time and limitation. “Our goal … is to help people share with any device they have available to them,” says Xie. “And to keep it simple and fun.”
Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark
The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.