Mustbin, a new mobile application emerging from stealth today, and backed by $4.5 million in Series A funding, wants to become the go-to service for organizing everything you have that's important – including passwords, financial data, home and vehicle info, health and medical documents, and more – all securely encrypted in the cloud.
Based in Boston, the company was founded nearly a year ago by Brian Shin, who founded and is CEO of Visible Measures. The team also includes former CTO and co-founder of Motus Corporation, Satyender Mahajan, as Mustbin's VP of Engineering.
Shin explains that the idea for Mustbin emerged from an activity he was already doing – snapping photos of important items with his phone's camera for later access. “I had been struggling to keep track of an ever-growing amount of information that wasn't digital – insurance forms, contracts, warranties, physical collections of items, etc.,” Shin says. “I had tried to keep track of things by taking photos of stuff with my phone, but this was really getting out of hand.”
Shin says that the final straw came when a friend of his was hit by Superstorm Sandy, which damaged his house – and he lost all his paperwork due to the flooding. “I just felt that Mustbin was a product that needed to exist in this world,” says Shin.
On a more personal note, I have to agree with the need for something like this to exist. Friends of mine this week lost their home in a fire, and I realize that beyond the personal tragedy of such a thing happening, physical possessions like clothes and computers are more easily replaced that all that personal – and very important – data.
These days, most of our photos are stored in the cloud, on services like Facebook, Google, iCloud, or Flickr, for example, and our business documents are also backed up in clouds or company servers. But often, our hard copies of forms, receipts, warranties, home, health, financial info, and more are still filed away in office cabinets and drawers.
Of course, you can turn to consumer-facing cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox to scan and archive these items, or you can pay a service like Shoebox to do the scanning for you. But these options are not as simple – and sometimes not as affordable – as simply taking a photo with your smartphone. The phone has forever been the poor man's method of the physical-to-digital archival process.
Mustbin adds to that, by including an organizational layer and extra security on top of what would otherwise have been your iPhone's Camera Roll, and then perhaps iCloud. Shin notes that the app has also been designed in a way that will help walk people through the organizational process, too. “A lot of people (like me) want to be more organized, but don't necessarily know what info they should be gathering or how,” he says.
To do so, Mustbin offers pre-made folders which include guides and actions to help you get started with your collections.
After signing up, using Mustbin is relatively straightforward – you just snap a picture, and add it to a “bin” (as the folders are called), where the photo of the item is secured and synced to the cloud. The company encrypts the data on the device, during transit, and on its servers, and the encryption keys are owned by you – meaning the company cannot see your data. It uses a combination of RSA public key and AES encryption technology, and the company has had their system verified by a third-party security analysis business, too. That being said, some people will still not feel comfortable with combing all their most personal data in one place in the cloud, no matter what steps are taken to secure it. That's a choice you'll have to make for yourself.
After bins are created and filled with files, you can then share the items with those you trust – family members, friends, or other advisors.
The end result is an iPhone app where everything that matters to you is in one place. My one complaint with the process is that it's almost too helpful. While I understand that its aim is to help and instruct, the company should work to reduce the number of taps and steps involved with uploading each file, especially since users who come to the app will initially want to go back through their files to get caught up. That could take some time.
Mustbin will offer 1 GB of free storage for users, and will allow you to subscribe for more storage as your usage grows. (Pricing TBD). Like Dropbox, you'll also be able to earn space for referrals.
The seven-person company is backed by $4.5 million in outside funding from DAG Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Mohr Davidow, Northgate Capital, Hubspot founder Dharmesh Shah, Jonathan Kraft and other angels.
The app is live on iPhone today, but plans for Android (phones/tablets), desktop, and iPad are in the works. You can grab the iPhone version from the iTunes App Store here.