Symform gets $2M for peer-to-peer “cloud” storage

Cloud storage vendor Symform has netted $2 million in venture funding from new backer Westfield Capital, which joined existing investors OVP Venture Partners and Longworth Venture Partners to bring total funding for this Series A round to $7.5 million.
Cloud storage has been a hot market, as consumers have long embraced the idea of putting their digital documents, music and photos on cheap storage outside their homes. But now it is heating up even more as corporate CIOs are finally willing to trust at least some company data to cloud providers.
In Symform’s case, the cloud in question is different than it is for the others in this arena: The vendor has put together a peer-to-peer storage network that allows users to contribute their own unused storage space to others on the network in return for free or flat-fee cloud storage. These users can get up to 200 GB of free storage if they register, contribute disk space or refer others to the service. So basically, it’s free, in return for some of your storage real estate or the names of your friends and colleagues. The service target small businesses and the value-added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs) that support them.
Symform CEO Matthew Schiltz has likened Symform to Skype(s msft), which gutted traditional long-distance calling prices with its cheap peer-to-peer telephony. As cheap as many cloud storage alternatives are, Schiltz still thinks they are overpriced.
The Seattle-based company claims its user base has grown 800 percent in the past six months.
Given the clamor for cloud storage, the opportunities are ripe for innovative vendors. But given the sheer number of such vendors out there, competition will remain fierce.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user redjar