Secure server firm Protonet crowdfunds $1M in just 89 minutes

Looks like there’s a new record for the fastest crowdfunding of $1 million, and it ain’t for a movie this time – it’s for a server company that’s trying to wean businesses off the public cloud.

I wrote about Protonet, a German startup that makes secure servers for small teams, last July. It was just after the Snowden revelations began, and the company had duly picked up a $1.2 million investment to help it attract business customers who were suddenly extra-cautious around U.S.-hosted cloud services. There’s no sales pitch like being told your current supplier could be forced to give up your sensitive information to foreign spies.

Now Protonet is onto the third version of its orange box. This one’s called Maya and it’s aimed at individuals and small teams of up to 10 people. It will cost €1,199 ($1,633) and will feature 8GB of RAM and an Intel(s intc) Celeron processor. Like its bigger siblings, it will run the Protonet SOUL version of Linux, which comes with equivalents to Dropbox, Skype(s msft), WeTransfer and so on, all running from the server rather than some data center somewhere.

Having previously raised €200,000 through the profit-share crowdfunding site Seedmatch, Protonet returned to the same platform on Wednesday morning with a more ambitious target of €1 million. A mere 89 minutes later, the campaign had cleared €750,000 ($1.02 million). At the time of writing, shortly after lunch, Protonet is 90 percent of the way toward its funding limit, having picked up 543 new investors.

This certainly isn’t the record for the biggest ever crowdfunding pledge — that one went to Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge campaign, whose potential backers pledged $12.8 million, but that still fell well short of the Edge’s target and no one actually had to give anything as a result.

It is almost certainly a new record for the fastest-ever crowdfunding of $1 million, though. As far as I can tell, the previous record was for the Veronica Mars movie, which took just over 4 hours to reach the same milestone on Kickstarter.

Protonet marketing chief Thomas Reimers told me on Wednesday that the money will be used to start production of the Maya server and boost the company’s marketing efforts – so far it’s only been selling to Germany, and a bit to German-speaking Austria and Switzerland, but in the next half year or so it intends to try breaking into the English-speaking world.

The firm will continue assembling its servers in its offices, which now require expansion for that purpose. “We have a very good and reliable supply chain with partners around Hamburg,” Reimers said.

This story was updated at 6.30am PT to note that the record was set in 89 minutes rather than 90 — a small difference, but worth noting.