5 Oct 2013

iCloud Alternative "Loom" Raises $1.4 Million

A startup called Loom, which begin its life as the Y Combinator-backed photo-sharing startup Popset, is working to build a better iCloud for both consumers and developers. Currently, the company offers a cloud storage and syncing service, in the form of a mobile application for iOS and desktop app for Mac. And today, Loom is also announcing $1.4 million in seed funding to continue to build on its vision.

The round included participation from Google Ventures (MG Siegler, disclosure: previously a TechCrunch employee and current contributor); Tencent, Great Oaks VC, Overbrook Entertainment (Will Smith), Damon Way (founder, DC Shoes), and a few other angel investors.

The company first announced its follow-up to Popset in May, and then entered into beta this June. At the time, co-founder Jan Senderek explained the team had realized that they were trying to solve the wrong problem with Popset – people weren’t lacking tools for group photo-sharing, but they did need a better way to organize and manage their photo libraries. Thus, Loom was born.

The iOS application is fairly straightforward in its design, in an effort to appeal to a broader mainstream user base. After signing in, you simply start backing up photos to the cloud where you’ll receive 5 GB of free storage. A Mac app allows you to also import photos from your computer, and includes a one-click iPhoto export option. Additional storage requires a subscription, and conversion rates for Loom are now above 3 percent, Senderek tells us. However, the company is not disclosing the number of users or actives it currently has.

What makes Loom useful, however, is not just its file-syncing and online storage capabilities, but that it’s designed to serve as your mobile device’s default photo album replacement while saving you storage space on your phone. To do so, Senderek explained earlier that Loom itself stores photos in their original size on its servers, then creates multiple, smaller versions for access on mobile. Users can then clear out their iPhone’s Camera Roll, but still have access to all their photos in Loom, where they can organize them into albums, or share them with friends.

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