10 Aug Startup Profile: 1FTP
Born out of the original Dallas Startup Weekend, 1FTP (@1FTPapp) is ramping up for its official debut later this quarter. The development team, led by Brian Scates (@brianscates), set out to “change the way you use FTP.” We spoke to Brian recently to see how far they’ve come.
1. What does 1FTP do?
Our goal with 1FTP is to make working with FTP connections stupid simple. No more remembering passwords or connection settings, no more configuring accounts on a server, and no more worrying about what contractors and employees do with access. We’re building a web-based service that will store your accounts, and let you share (and unshare) access with others very easily.
We’re targeting everyone who has to work with FTP, making the experience easy for end users who need to transfer files, and robust for IT departments who want to regain control over access to their servers.
2. How did the idea come about?
The idea came about just prior to a Startup Weekend in Dallas. At the time I was the Creative Director for a small digital agency, and found myself constantly having to go dig through email to find FTP credentials when things needed updating, or when we needed to give a new worker access. My co-founder Lance Schlegel and I have both run our own agencies for years as well, and this has always been a big pain point.
I originally just wanted an easy place to store all the credentials – a web app that would always be available from whatever computer I was looking at. But of course the idea of sharing access securely came quickly on the heels of that idea.
When we had contractors or employees leave, for whatever reason, I’d have to worry about them leaving with access to our servers, as well as client’s servers, which we didn’t control, and hope that they didn’t use that access against us. With 1FTP, they would never have direct access to the servers, so I could simply disable their access in 1FTP.
3. Who is on the team?
In addition to myself, Lance Schlegel is my co-founder and is heading up the front-end development, along with our developer Scott Foster who’s building all the backend PHP for the core application.
4. What’s your role?
As the CEO I’m managing the vision and the business side of the startup. Being a small team though, and with my background as a designer, I’ve also been getting my hands dirty in the design of the UI and website, as well as the pitch deck and other marketing efforts. Basically a little bit of everything!
5. What sort of development challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
As with any software project, it’s always harder than you originally expect. We hit some serious roadblocks with the original php framework we started with and had to pull a bit of a ‘windows vista’ and back out to a new framework that worked much better, but required recoding a lot of the app. I think one of the downsides of the development scramble at an event like Startup Weekend is that in the rush to get something out quickly, you sacrifice planning, which can come back to bite you later if you carry the project forward. Better to hit those roadblocks at an early phase though, so you can go to market with a much more robust and reliable app.
6. Whats next for 1FTP? We hear you you’re moving the company to San Francisco?
We’ve been bootstrapping the app for about a year or so now, and are close to having a public beta available. At this point we’re looking to go ahead and start raising capital to enable us to develop the application further and rapidly respond to beta feedback in preparation for a formal launch. I’m moving to San Francisco this month to pursue funding, with the rest of the team to follow. We want to give 1FTP the best possible chance for success, so while we are big advocates for the Dallas startup community, we feel like the support, talent, and capital infrastructure in San Francisco/Silicon Valley will give us a much better run. We have the means to take advantage of that environment, so that’s where we’re headed.
Everyone on the team is really excited about the opportunity that 1FTP has to fill a big need in the web development and file sharing communities which has been neglected to date.
To sign up for early access, head to http://get1FTP.com/