Back in 2009, hardware storage company LaCie acquired Wualu, a Zurich-based startup and pioneer in peer-to-peer cloud storage. Despite exiting pretty early instead of scaling to become a leader in the space (in then somewhat typical European style), the deal made a lot of sense. A traditional hardware storage maker picking up an expert in cloud storage software.
In fact, at the time the two companies talked up the deal as a “merger” rather than one acquiring the other. Philippe Spruch, founder and CEO of LaCie, said that the partnership would lead LaCie to transform from a hardware manufacturer to a “digital storage provider”.
Oh how times have changed.
In a blog post to customers, Wuala has just announced that it is to shut down.
Effective as of today, you will no longer be able to purchase storage or renew existing accounts. Full account service will continue through 30 September 2015, at which point all active accounts will shift to read-only mode. Effective Sunday, 15 November 2015, the Wuala cloud service will terminate.
The immediate advice to Wuala users is to back up their data stored on the service to a PC, Mac or another cloud storage offering, somewhat ironic considering that the idea of taking out a Wuala account in the first place is that you’d no longer need to worry about backups.
Interestingly, the company is also recommending another cloud storage startup with an emphasis on security: Swiss-Hungarian startup Tresorit, which claims to one-up the likes of Dropbox and Box in terms of security and privacy because, similar to Wuala, it employs end-to-end encryption, meaning that you — and only you — have the “keys” needed to access your files.
Naturally, Tresorit is delighted. The startup has even developed a tool to help Wuala users transition to its service. Istvan Lam, CEO of Tresorit, has also written an interesting blog post detailing a little history of Wuala and the current consumer landscape in secure cloud storage.