Photo Credit: Jaisen Mathai


This post is part of a series chronicling my 3 year startup journey. Each post can be read individually but to get the full picture I suggest starting from the beginning.

Over the 3 years we spent building Trovebox there were countless successes and failures. All of which helped shape the company, product and founders.

Below is a timeline view of events that makes it possible to quickly consume most of the ups and downs we had.

May 2011 - December 2011 (before funding)

The first months were some of the most exciting. We built a product from scratch and gained a following.

  • May - I left my job to start OpenPhoto. The first milestone was a successful Kickstarter campaign .
  • Aug - OpenPhoto was accepted into Mozilla WebFWD
  • Sep - OpenPhoto was a standby for TechCrunch Disrupt. We didn’t get to participate in the contest but were offered the chance to have a table in Startup Alley.
  • Sep - Pitched to Kapoor Foundation by way of intro from Marco DeMiroz. Did not get past first meeting.
  • Oct - Version 1.2 of OpenPhoto was released (7 contributors).
  • Oct - Initial beta version of iPhone app via TestFlight.
  • Oct - Pitched to Khosla Ventures. I met Vinod Khosla at TC Disrupt who asked that I contact him afterwards. Did not get past first meeting.
  • Nov - Version 1.3 of OpenPhoto was released (4 contributors).

January 2012 - July 2012 (before funding)

The first half of 2012 was largly focused on securing funding.

  • Feb - Was invited to interview with IO Ventures. This is a selective process and they receive 700 applications of which 40 get asked to interview. We did not get accepted.
  • Feb - Was invited to pitch to Band of Angels. This is a selective process and we were 3 of 50 companies selected to pitch. Did not get past the pitch.
  • Apr - OpenPhoto iPhone app released in the App Store.
  • May - Released “Import from Flickr”.
  • Jun - Released “Import from PicPlz”. This was our first initiative at providing an option for users of sites that were shutting down or making terms of use changes.
  • Jul - Version 3.0 of OpenPhoto was released (18 contributors).

August 2012 - December 2012 (after funding)

After receiving funding we got back to focusing on the product.

  • Aug - Received Shuttleworth Foundation fellowship.
  • Nov - Added support for 5 cloud storage providers.
  • Dec - OpenPhoto Android app released in the Google Play store.

2013 (after funding)

As we entered 2013 we focused almost entirely on sales and marketing to fuel growth. We decided in May to pivot to targeting businesses.

  • Jan - OpenPhoto relaunched as Trovebox (6 contributors).
  • Apr - Archive.org support added.
  • May - iPad support added to iOS app.
  • May - Realized that growth with consumers was too low and that we needed to find an alternative.
  • May - Partnered with Insight Sales Dynamics (ISD) and worked with Brian to land large enterprise deals.
  • May - (ISD) Meeting with CEO from Topia Software. Had 3 calls but did not close.
  • Jun - (ISD) Meeting with VP at Sony. Met in person 4 times over 8 months but did not close.
  • Jul - Group support added to Trovebox.
  • Jul - Received 2nd year Shuttleworth Foundation fellowship.
  • Sep - (ISD) Meeting with VP at Roku. Had 2 calls but did not close.
  • Oct - Switched Trovebox from consumers to businesses.
  • Dec - Released Trovebox Collect.

2014 (after funding)

This was an important year for us as we focused on growing our customer base by targeting businesses. We tried everything from cold calling companies to exhibiting at trade shows.

  • Jan - Began cold calling group travel vacation companies. This lasted a month and the results were terrible.
  • Feb - Launched beta of video support.
  • Mar - Exhibited at 3 expos. This was sort of a last ditch effort to try and figure out a strategy or market which would provide significant growth for us with businesses. This wound up not working out and we decided that we couldn’t get the growth we needed.
  • Mar - Considered Kickstarting a TroveboxHome project which would be a physical network attached storage device that ran Trovebox software or otherwise communicated intelligently with Trovebox in the cloud. After speaking with Dr. Song we decided not to pursue this idea.
  • Mar - Reached out to prior ISD contacts about opportunities and Western Digital was interested. This resulted in a meeting with about 15 key people from Western Digital’s Branded Products group.
  • Mar - Met with Western Digital and demoed our product. We had met with them a year earlier to private label our software but nothing materialized.
  • Mar - Met with Dreamhost to discuss interest in an acquisition.
  • Apr - Prototyped Trovebox running on a Western Digital MyCloud device. Demo’ed to Western Digital.
  • May - Prototyped Trovebox running on a Netgear ReadyNAS device. Demo’ed to Netgear.
  • May - Demo’ed to Drobo.
  • Jun - Signed Letter of Intent from Western Digital to be acquired.
  • Jul - Joined Western Digital.