29. November 2012–
Ever found the most hilarious meme on some social media site, only to find you've completely forgotten where in the world wide web you saw it? archify wants to tackle this problem by offering a tool that records your browsing history, so you never have to look like an internet rookie again!
The app launched just two days ago, making the announcement at the Startupbootcamp Investor Demo Day, an incubation program that the archify team also took part in.
VentureVillage caught up with the two Austrian cofounders, Gerald Bäck and Max Kossatz, to find out more about the app and how they're dealing with the sensitive topic of privacy on the internet...
Hi guys, who are you and what are you doing?
Hi, we are Gerald Bäck (left) and Max Kossatz, the co-founders of archify. archify solves the problem of losing track of the websites, Facebook and Twitter streams you have seen when you surf all day on web pages. Unless you know exactly where you saw it, you often can't find it again.
So archify archives and saves every web page you see in your browser, plus every update you get from social streams and makes this information searchable in your browser.
How do you react to people’s privacy concerns?
We take privacy very seriously, we encrypt all the information on the way to our servers and we don’t share the archive, it's your archive and you decide what to do with it. You have to trust us, of course, but it is your archive and you see exactly what you are doing with it. The search engine is only there for the user and we have no intentions to start personal profiling, it makes no sense for us.
And Germans tend to be very concerned with privacy...
If you talk to people from English-speaking countries, they all know the problem, and they think this could be a solution. In Germany, they know archify could be a solution, but their second question is always "what about privacy?". Same in Austria. That’s why our page is just in English, we’re targeting predominately the US and the UK. But we also have users from Russia, Scandinavia and Brazil.
We really can’t complain about German and Austrian users though, we have a lot of them too! We realised from the beginning we had to expand internationally and not focus on our home market or German-speaking countries.
How did you come across your idea?
Gerald had a social media agency before and he had to search all day on the web for his clients and the next day he couldn’t remember where he’d searched the day before. And we realised that there isn’t a product that can let you do this. So we just want to help people remember and find stuff again.
Who are the founders?
There were three cofounders who launched archify, Gerald Bäck, Max Kossatz and Walter Palmetshofer. Walter has left now, but basically we all had companies or were working in companies in the media monitoring area, we were kind of competitors. And then we were talking about the idea for archify and decided we should do it.
Why the move to Berlin?
Vienna is very nice and great to live, but there isn't much infrastructure for startups, it's not like Berlin or London. And in Berlin the living is better and we speak the language. Berlin is the better place for startups – there’s more drive, more events. Everyone is looking to Berlin when they look to Europe.
What makes you different from everyone else?
There are some big differences between us and our competitors, which include CloudMagic. We cover everything in your web history, from Twitter to Facebook, stuff you say, stuff friends say, whereas a lot of competitiors only focus on one channel – like Twitter.
Secondly, we make this as seamless as possible, with the plugin you search in Google and get an overlay in Google, so you can see the results from Archify as well. We also integrate with Gmail, so if someone mentions you on Twitter you get a notification in your email.
Google is a competitor too, but we think Google is good for finding generic information about a topic, information that many people want. Like when you search for Berlin, the first thing you get is the Berlin wiki etc. But in archify, you find personalised content, like restaurant recommendations. We are extending the Google search with personalised results.
What is your business model?
We're focusing on freemium and premium. Our costs are basically only storage costs. At some stage, we’ll limit the amount of storage space for free users and introduce premium accounts and maybe corporate accounts in the future. There will be other features, too, for premium accounts.
We won’t work with companies to track people. We are planning to occasionally release highly aggregated data and say, for example, in Germany, the most visited site is this. But we wont go deeper than that.
And how big is the market potential?
We're approaching different users, including web workers, social media people, journalists. Jobs that depend on the internet. But also people who want to see stats on themselves and their use, how much time they spend on a site, what they do online. There is a group that is very interested in quantified self information. There is a space for hundreds of thousands of users definitely.
Who is financing you?
Balderton is our major investor. Startupbootcamp is too, but they didn't invest much money. It was still important for us to be at Startupbootcamp. Without their support, Balderton would not have invested in us. It was great, because we’re the first team that gave money back to Startupbootcamp by being a sponsor for the Investor Demo Day this week.
Is there something that you missing?
We are hiring, we need developers and marketing people, which aren't that easy to find in Berlin.
Who would you like to have a lunch with and what would you talk about?
We would love to go for lunch with Ferran Adrià, and he has to cook!
Any advice you'd give for fellow startups?
Talk to a lot of people, build up a network, go to a seed accelerator, get out of your comfort zone, don’t hide your ideas. It’s very easy to build a prototype without any money and then show it to people and get feedback from them. Talk to potential users who are interested in it. Because you don’t want to build something and then find out no one wants to use it!
Where will you be in a years time?
In a year, we'll hopefully have lots of users and we’ll give them a tool they use on a daily basis, and we want to expand. We'll add more features, we have some mobile apps coming up.
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