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LucidLink eyes Filespaces upgrade, biz expansion with new funding

LucidLink CEO Peter Thompson discusses his company's plans into 2021 and new storage market expansion possibilities after a $12 million Series A funding round.

LucidLink plans to release a significant update to Filespaces, its flagship SaaS product, as well as increase employee headcount.

The expansion comes after the company completed a $12 million Series A funding, raising cash from  original investors Baseline Ventures and BrightCap Ventures as well as new investors including Headline and Adobe. LucidLink was formed in 2016 and launched its first commercial version of Filespaces in 2019.

Filespaces offers object storage over public cloud providers with the appearance of file storage for end users to access and visualize their data as if it were on a traditional NAS or storage device. The company's primary customers include the media and entertainment industries, such as their investor Adobe, which need access to large files quickly for collaborative usage and editing. Turnkey solutions offered by LucidLink make use of Wasabi and IBM cloud storage, while custom setups accept any of the major public clouds including AWS, Azure and Google as well as other, smaller providers.

Peter Thompson, CEO, LucidLinkPeter Thompson

How will LucidLink make use of this new funding?

Thompson: Our business grew 15 times over the last year and that's in all metrics that we measure: from users, to revenue, to capacity, to everything. We knew to keep going with this, to keep developing the product based upon feedback we get directly from the customers, [but] it was time to start building the company a little bit.

This will give us enough time to build up a team the way we're expecting to. We're planning to slightly double the number of people with us with the primary functions in the sales and marketing but also adding a number of hires to our engineering team.

We're well over 15,000 users at this point. We're expecting that by the end of this round, we'll be around 100 employees.

What's next for Filespaces in 2021?

Thompson: We've got some pretty exciting stuff coming up. One is we'll be coming out with our next, major version. I won't talk too much about that other than the fact that it's going to represent a breakthrough in scalability and performance.

This next version is really going to focus on performance and scalability.
Peter ThompsonLucidLink CEO

We're getting customers now that are in the petabyte range. For this kind of system that is getting pretty big, so we've done some things that are going to allow us to expand well beyond that not just in capacity but in number of users . . . We have a lot of inquiries from things like universities which might have tens of thousands of users. So, this next version is really going to focus on performance and scalability.

A second major theme is accommodating hybrid workflows. Every single one of our customers, they're not going to go back to workflows like they did before. What they would like is to close that gap between people working in a single shared location and those who are working remotely or from other locations. We got a few features coming out that will help to do that more efficiently.

Are there other aspects of the storage market you might be considering new products for?

Thompson: We're doing additional automation on multi-cloud scenarios. We can already work with any cloud. Well, we're doing some work to work with any cloud at the same time. You can bring your own storage and set one up on Wasabi, one on AWS, and one on IBM today. If we've got multiple users in different locations, maybe one is closer to AWS and one is closer to IBM's data center, so they want to do it that way and not have to set up again. We want to remove the complexity.

The other part is that we get a lot of requests from customers around lifecycle management. This is more and more true in the media space where assets become reused a lot more than they used to be . . . After they're done with a project, they don't want to put it on tape or in ultra-long-term archive storage.

They would love to a have a tier that is sort of in between where data goes to die and super-hot accessible data. That's an area where we're actively looking at as well. We're looking to provide better, cheaper pricing around that.

Will other public cloud options be available as turnkey offerings in the future?

Thompson: We have a lot of discussions going on with ecosystem partners. Right now, the custom allows us to work with anything out there. Overwhelmingly, we've had customers say, "I don't want to deal with it."

That's when we began working with both Wasabi and IBM. It's both for choice, different locations of data centers, different profiles, and cost versus performance. All those things come into play. Will there be another one in the future? We'll have to see.

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