ZeroPC: Personal Virtual Desktop in the Cloud – Disrupt 2011
ZeroDesktop, Inc., a leading developer of fully featured public and private cloud computing solutions, announced a new “Freemium” plan for its ZeroPC (http://www.zeropc.com) personal desktop in the cloud, providing worldwide consumers with 1GB of free cloud storage, plus integrated access to up to an additional free 14GB from popular cloud storage services, for a total of up to 15GB of free combined storage. A pay-as-you-go ZeroPC plan, starting at $1 per month, is also available for power-users who require up to 50GB of storage and expanded features. Existing ZeroPC users may continue to use their pay-as-you-go account or open a new Freemium account without a credit card or subscription fees.
Interview With Young Song
Young Song, CEO of ZeroDesktop answers some questions while meeting at Techcrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
Tell me about ZeroDesktop.
ZeroDesktop, Inc. is a developer of next-generation Web Desktop solutions for public cloud and private cloud computing. Our flagship product, ZeroPC, is a revolutionary cloud content management user interface that turns any browser into a familiar PC, and empowers consumers, schools and business users to unify all of their digital content from local PCs and Internet sites into one secure repository.
ZeroPC bridges the gap between the Internet and PCs by providing a seamless all-in-one content management hub for organizing, accessing, managing and sharing any digital content on a user’s local computer, social sites, portable storage devices or external storage services—all from one location regardless of where their content is stored.
Explain about company history, team, funding etc.
ZeroDesktop is based on a technology foundation that was initially developed by Startforce, Inc. which was backed by over $6M venture funding during the last 4 years.
ZeroDesktop was founded as a new startup in February 2011 after we acquired the assets of Startforce Inc. by reorganization. ZeroDesktop has received initial investments from firms including Booga Ventures based on Palo Alto, CA.
Our headquarters has been in San Francisco, but we are relocating the company to San Mateo next month in order to accommodate the company’s growth. We currently have 18 employees (including 12 engineers) in California, Eastern Europe and Asia.
What problem is ZeroDesktop trying to solve?
ZeroPC is a revolutionary step forward in giving computer users a safe and comfortable platform to experience the cloud computing revolution.
Most computer users currently store all of the content in files and folders on their local PCs, but their content is becoming increasingly “scattered” across multiple Web-enabled devices, external storage services and social sites. We believe that consumers are starting to experience frustration and difficulty managing their content in the cloud era.
ZeroPC aggregates content so people can easily access, transfer and share whatever content they want, using any Internet browser from anywhere, anytime and from any device. We are establishing ZeroPC as the user’s “personal lifetime desktop in the cloud”.
How is ZeroPC different from other Web storage companies?
ZeroPC is complementary to the Web storage products offered by DropBox, Box.net, GoogleDocs, Evernote and SugarSync, but ZeroPC is a much broader solution.
ZeroPC focuses on delivering the best content management platform to unify everything in the consumer’s digital life, all in one place. With ZeroPC, users can easily access, manage, edit and share their content from anywhere with any browser.
Who are your target customers?
ZeroDesktop is currently addressing two market segments with our ZeroPC product.
- For the consumer market, ZeroPC is a “public cloud” Web Desktop. We’ve found that other Web Desktop solutions focus more on the “entertainment” aspects for consumers. ZeroPC takes a different approach. We focus on delivering the best content management platform to unify everything in the consumer’s digital life, all in one place.
- ZeroDesktop also has a similar ZeroPC “private cloud” solution that addresses the education market. As the industry’s first “disposable” virtual desktop for the education market, ZeroPC Private cloud enables IT administrators to setup and easily manage general kiosk-mode desktops with a predefined look-and-feel, applications, files and programs that students access in classrooms, labs or libraries without requiring user login credentials, and that can be shared by many users. If a student accidentally deletes desktop icons, files or folders, or modifies desktop settings, the desktop can be reset to its original format by simply refreshing the browser tab to dispose of the changes. ZeroPC centralizes management of applications and content, and streamlines manageability of 1,000+ computers, saving IT resources, and lowers total of ownership by more than 7x compared to traditional VDI solutions.
Why do individuals need your solution?
ZeroPC gives users an easy solution to regain control of their scattered digital content regardless of where the user’s content is stored. In addition to fully-featured Web Desktop functions, ZeroPC provides a familiar ‘look and feel’ Windows-like desktop user interface while leveraging all the benefits of cloud computing resources.
Individuals can consolidate and unify all of their documents, emails, photos, music, videos and social media content, and access it all from ZeroPC with a single login. With all of their digital content in one location, users can easily and securely access, manage and share any combinations of their content with anyone, anywhere and for any duration using a single URL.
Why do schools needs this solution?
Schools and businesses have a common dilemma about what to do with the increasing number of slow, outdated, virus-plagued computers that outfit their facilities. The combination of disparate brands and operating systems that cannot perform effectively with streaming media or other Internet applications, plus shrinking budgets, has forced schools and organizations to spend countless frustrating hours repairing and troubleshooting problems in these old computers.
The ZeroPC Web-based virtual desktop extends the existing PC infrastructure by using a cost-effective light server footprint, and provides a viable path to rapid deployment of virtual desktops in today’s challenging economic environment.
ZeroPC implements a pure Web technology solution that provides much less storage, servers and bandwidth than tradition VDI, while providing the ability to access content from inside or outside of schools.
The estimated ROI indicates that ZeroPC was 1/7th of the cost to deploy as compared to the traditional VDI. A single server typically can host over 1,000 concurrent sessions that cover an entire school.
We have successfully deployed our pilot project at Santa Clara Unified School District to revitalize old desktops with ZeroPC and save schools a lot of money. We believe that the ZeroPC solution can save California a lot of money and save jobs, while providing fully functional desktops to students to help them stay productive.
What is your vision?
eroDesktop was founded with the vision to “virtually host” the world’s desktops in secured locations on the Internet so people can log-in from any computer using any Web browser. With today’s advancements in cloud computing, we believe that a new generation of very low-cost, browser-only computers will naturally emerge, enabling billions of people to go online by logging into Web Desktops.
Our primary focus at present is to educate and attract end-user consumers to the ZeroPC service by developing and incorporating valuable new features and rapidly expanding ZeroPC to support additional platforms, such as Chromebook and mobile devices.
What would be your ultimate goal of the company?
We want to extend ZeroPC’s use as a cost-effective solution to address the computing needs of emerging countries where people do not have the luxury of owning computers. In many cases, these people have to carry their own USB storage stick to an Internet cafe, local YMCA or community center in order to work or access the Internet. There is no sense of computer ownership and often these public computers are infected with viruses.
ZeroPC is designed to be a solution for “one virtual desktop per person”. Without the need to carry USB memory sticks, every person would “own” his/her “virtual desktop” that they can access from any browser, anywhere and at any time.
What is the background of ZeroDesktop’s CEO?
ZeroDesktop is headed by CEO Young Song, an entrepreneur whose career has focused on bringing to market synergistic desktop computing products that deliver life-enhancing value to education, business and consumers. He founded NComputing, a $40 million venture-backed company with patented technology that leverages PC power and cloud computing to create a shared computing resource that connects multiple users at a low cost, and is used today by millions of customers in over 100 countries. He also co-founded eMachines, the low-cost computer brand that enabled affordable PC ownership and Internet adoption for consumers (later acquired by Gateway).
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