May 17, 2012 | last updated May 17, 2012 12:16 pm

Copiun Completes Venture Round, Targets More Customers

Marlborough-based Copiun, whose software aims to be the corporate alternative to free web tools like Dropbox and Google Docs, recently received the final piece of a $5 million venture funding round that its co-founder says will enable a broader sales and marketing effort.

CEO Puneesh Chaudhry said the four-year-old company used the first tranches of the round, led by Novak Biddle Venture Partners, to grow its customer base and revenues.

Over the past year, Copiun forged partnerships with mobile providers and signed reseller partners.

"We set ourselves several goals last year and we met all of them," Chaudhry said.

And now, with the final piece of its first venture round in hand, Copiun plans to "put the pedal to the metal" on gaining traction in the market, he said.

Copiun's software is called Copiun TrustedShare, and it addresses two recent trends in the business world: the proliferation of file-sharing tools to collaborate on documents and the use of tablet computers and smart phones at work.

Dropbox may be just fine for some companies, Chaudhry said, but others have stricter data security requirements.

"When you're a corporation, you have to worry about 'where does my data live? Do I have control over it? Will I be able to take it away from someone else's control? Can I control where it goes?'" he said.

Copiun TrustedShare allows mobile employees or managers to sync and share documents without in-the-cloud storage. The data is governed end to end, which means, among other things, a company can control who accesses the data. If a device is lost or stolen, it can be shut off from accessing secure files on a company's internal servers or directories.

Chaudhry said companies whose data is regulated – health care providers, insurers, banks and others – have shown the most interest in TrustedShare.

A Sometimes Muted Concern

Chaudhry has encountered several approaches his customers were taking to web collaboration by their employees.

Some companies simply forbade it, including using personal devices to access work files.

And some IT managers had concerns, but ran into a funny problem.

Chaudhry said he talked to one company whose employees were using Dropbox. The IT manager was concerned about security, so Chaudhry asked him why he didn't forbid workers from using it.

"Because I still want to have a job," the manager told him.

It turns out it wasn't just lower level employees who had grown fond of the tool.

"The users were executives and powerful sales users who have a lot of say," Chaudhry said.

That's a challenge Chaudhry thinks Copiun can overcome. After all, its product mimics Dropbox in many ways.

Copiun has more challenges ahead before it can consider scaling up further, but Chaudhry said there could be another venture round in its future. The company has 26 employees and is looking to hire more.

Chaudhry asks nearly everyone he talks to (even reporters) if they know talented engineers or product managers.

"One of the biggest things is: How do we hire smart engineers in a fast way?" he said. "We are picky about the people we want. It takes time, but hiring is one of those things you don't want to get wrong."

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described how Copiun TrustedShare stores data. The software does not use in-the-cloud storage.

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