The startup Spanish Internxt, owned by Angels, the investment arm of Juan Roig, founder of Mercadona, seeks to “promote an internet that respects user privacy”. This is how its founder, the young Fran Villalba, explains it, who maintains that “today the internet is controlled by technological giants like Google that offer services that are a means to an end. They are services that they use to collect user data to better profile them because they really live from the advertising business. And that is something that in our case does not happen. Our services are an end in themselves ”.
Internxt has launched two services to date. The first, Internxt Drive, is an alternative to Google Drive and Dropbox, among others, that offers a storage space in the cloud that, according to Villalba, protects the security and privacy of users.
To achieve this, the files that are uploaded to your cloud are encrypted from the source and the decryption key is stored on the user’s device, “so that only the user can access them since Internxt does not save said keys, different from other companies ”.
In addition, and in front of the structure of cloud traditional and centralized offered by its big rivals, the encrypted files on Internxt are split and uploaded to multiple servers in different parts of the world because their cloud is based on decentralized technology like the blockchain. “Thus, if a hacker Accessing a server would not matter because it would only access a piece of the file, the password of which, moreover, they do not know because only the user has it ”, remarks Villalba.
The entrepreneur ensures that the fact that the files are stored in a distributed manner does not affect the upload or download speed of the files. “On the contrary, it can even go faster, because we have a network of server providers practically all over the world and the fragments are replicated in several, so that we can send those that are closest to the user.”
The second product launched, which also relies on distributed storage and encryption, is Internxt Photos, a cloud storage service focused on images that wants to compete with platforms such as Google Photos.
Villalba explains that many more will come after both products. In May they plan to launch Internxt Send, a platform for secure sending of files similar to WeTransfer, and for the last quarter of this year they plan to have Internxt Mail, their own alternative to the popular Gmail, “all encrypted”, continues the founder of the startup Valenciana, which stresses that the ultimate goal “is to create an alternative GSuite to Google, with a subscription model that gives the user access to all our services as if it were an Amazon Prime.”
Internxt currently offers a free 10-gigabyte cloud storage space with payment plans ranging from one to 10 euros per month, ranging up to 2 terabytes of capacity. According to Villalba, the company already has almost 50,000 users (between individuals and companies) and expects to end the year with close to half a million and a turnover of one million euros.
The company has raised 700,000 euros in various operations led by Angels (which has 5% of the startup), Esade BAN and The Venture City (with 6%). “We are already self-sufficient with the income we generate and we do not plan to seek short-term financing, but I estimate that we will do a Series A round in a year or two at a valuation of 15-20 million euros, where we will close more than three million euros. investment euros ”, says Villalba, who points out that the company is now valued at five million euros.
The entrepreneur assures that they will do that round to accelerate the growth of the company, invest in marketing and increase the team. Now there are 20 people and they plan to close the year with 30. The company is pivoting towards the B2B business and expects that almost half of its turnover will come from this line of business focused on companies, given that they increasingly invest more in its digitization and in cybersecurity. “We are beginning to work with public institutions and large companies, especially European ones, who are concerned about privacy and are afraid to use the services of US companies,” he says.
Villalba admits that there are other startups that seek to be an alternative to the storage services offered by Google and other internet giants that compete with Internxt, such as Storj and TresorIT. However, he assures that some “are difficult to use because they are designed in a very technical way, while in our case, the user experience is the same as that offered by Google Drive or Dropbox.” Either way, the founder of Internxt welcomes the competition. “It is good that there is, because otherwise it would assume that we are not doing something that makes sense.”