fINDING A ONE SIZE FITS ALL FILE SYNCING SOLUTION JUST GOT A BIT EASIER THANKS TO ADAM MOISA AND HIS NEW STARTUP, AGORA
Nevertheless, the lack of integration solutions between the major players like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive makes using these products across teams a potential headache. I can recall one too many class projects in school where the group was wasting time and energy trying to efficiently manage and share files as some team members swore by Dropbox, while others refused to switch from Box, and I was using Google Drive. Adam Moisa knew this problem all too well and decided that there had to be a better way. He realized that as virtual teams and online collaboration become the norm for teams big and small, the demand for a one size fits all file sharing solution just wasn't being met. With a focus on addressing this issue around simplifying real time collaboration, he and his co- founders set out to build Agora, a web and mobile based solution determined to get all the clouds on the same page.
Founded in 2014,, the New York based startup has built a file sharing and collaboration platform that brings together your files from major cloud storage providers like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box into one location. Agora's modern, well-design solution enables its users to properly and efficiently manage their files across various cloud storage systems with online editing and file sharing capabilities. While the product is currently in private beta, you can request access on the company's website agora.co. With a product like Agora, time wasted syncing, sharing, and managing documents and files between various cloud storage providers could become a thing of the past. Check out my conversation with Agora's founder and CEO, Adam Moisa.
We built Agora because of a personal issue: we couldn’t manage our various Dropbox’s, Google Drives, Box’s, etc. Our team had files all over the place and finding them was becoming a real challenge. We always ran out of space and had to open more accounts which only made it worse. If they wanted to share files from their Google Drive for this project, but I didn’t have Google Drive, they couldn't share that file with me easily. We lived and breathed this problem as students and entrepreneurs and we just had to have a better way. We also found out we weren’t the only ones with this issue. So, we built Agora.
Q: Could you talk about the technology behind Agora and how you've created a service that doesn't store files across various cloud platforms but still allows you to share and edit them?
Without giving too much away, we view ourselves as the orchestrator of your files and not your storage provider. We created a universal file type that can handle all the various ways the individual clouds handle files and folders. This allows us to show you all your files and let you manipulate them in whatever way you want. That’s all we can say about our technology but in short, we let you work with your files no matter where they’re from, however you want.
Q: What has it been like to create and strategize around a launch campaign for Agora? In your opinion, what goes into making a successful product launch?
The first few steps were all about clearly understanding the message our product should convey. Before talking about “What” your product does and “How” it does it, you need to tell people “Why” they should choose it and what pains it relieves for them. The final part requires focus from the entire team to make sure that in terms of design, features and marketing every piece of the puzzle is ready, consistent and aligned. These are crucial steps to have an impactful launch and to clear the way for product/market fit.
Q: There seems to be a huge focus on digital collaboration tools/apps/platforms recently. Why do you think there is such a demand to address this issue?
As technology improves, the speed at which teams can work together increases. It also allows for a more distributed team. This fragmentation of teams has led to the need for tools to allow them to work together efficiently yet remotely. Dropbox did a great thing by allowing people to have files shared or mirrored no matter how far away they are. We are trying to put all your synced files into one place, to further defragment teams and to perfect the way you interact with your files and your team.
Q: What is the revenue model for Agora in the long term?
Agora’s base platform is free for use. We will be charging teams $7/user/month for a productivity platform on top of Agora that allows you to create and manage teams, create projects and invite external collaborators, get analytics on the people in your team (when they’re working, who is sharing documents with whom, etc), and a slew of other awesome features. We are also able to offer this productivity platform to teams with local storage. For this integration, it will cost $15/user/month, and it includes more in-depth permissions management, AD integration, and other management tools for an admin.
Q: As a first-time founder, what has been the most important lesson you've learned while running Agora?
The single most important thing I’ve learned is that it’s incredibly important to have a strong team. No one is perfect and no one can do everything; you need to make sure you have strong partners that can fill in your gaps. Without my amazingly talented partners, Agora would not be where it is today.