“Daplie is a movement. We're taking back the internet.”
This statement by a small Provo startup seems a bit far-fetched, but founders AJ ONeal, Brian Bourgerie and Bryson Hill are sure they can deliver. Cloud by Daplie is touted as the internet’s first personal at-home cloud server that anyone can set up and use.
“We’re giving users control of their digital life. You have control over your data,” said Bourgerie, Daplie vice president.
ONeal, Daplie chief technology officer, explained that the Cloud by Daplie server isn’t some nebulous cloud service housed on someone else’s computer. It’s like a cloud service, but it’s your own cloud.
“We sell a device that you own outright, you keep it in your home and it lets you connect directly without a third party accessing your data. We register it with your own encrypted domain so that it's not just secure, but accessible from anywhere,” ONeal said.
Beyond security, Daplie’s server allows for true data ownership, easy sharing and sizable storage. Data in a user’s computer or devices stays within their control until they grant another user permission to access files. To share files, users simply grant another user access to specific content within the server. Daplie’s patented stackable storage drives slide into place on top of the server and provide additional terabytes of storage.
“What we’re doing here is going to fundamentally change the internet. There are five big companies that control internet usage right now, but we’re making it so every single individual has their own piece of the internet. We’re rewriting the web for the people,” ONeal said.
They’ll readily admit they are competing with Google, one of the world leaders of the internet. But they are undaunted, because they fundamentally believe the internet needs to change. ONeal said internet usage and data has been both monopolized and monetized, and with Daplie, they are set to change that through data control and privacy. ONeal explained that they want to bring the ease and ownership of the physical world into the digital world.
Daplie as a business only came into being just over a year ago, but the idea for Daplie has been floating around in ONeal’s brain for more than a decade. One of the first seeds came from an experience where he wanted to share a photo on his computer with his mother on her laptop. While there are multiple ways to do that — emailing the file, copying it to a USB drive, etc. — he wondered why it wasn’t as easy as how we share things in the physical world, simply by handing the object to the other person, as opposed to person having the file sent around the world just to end up in the next room.
At the time, ONeal had little programming experience, and frankly the technology to solve this problem wasn’t around yet. So this puzzle bounced around in his brain for years. As he learned more, he worked out bits of the solution.
He met Hill, who is now Daplie’s CEO, at a tech conference and the two began chatting. While working together on another project, ONeal explained his idea to Hill, and Hill immediately saw the potential. They finished their other work, and jumped on this new concept full time.
To get this server into the hands of the people, Daplie was the first company to launch simultaneous equity and rewards crowdfunding campaigns. They are nearing the end of their rewards-based Indiegogo campaign, and are still collecting investments for their regulation crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder.
Wefunder is an avenue for companies to host a mini initial public offering, allowing any U.S. citizen 18 years and older to invest in shares of company stock. The regulation crowdfunding, or Reg CF, legislation that went into effect in May allows anyone, not just the wealthy or professional investors, to invest in startups and small businesses. Daplie is not the first company to do a mini IPO, but is the first Utah company to use Wefunder for this process.
“The numbers show that Wefunder has broken away from the pack to become far and away the No. 1 choice for Reg CF among both companies and investors — it’s really exciting to see this taking off,” said Mike Norman, president and co-founder of Wefunder. “Companies that already have a strong base of loyal customers have a built-in audience for raising money — because often, passionate customers welcome the chance to own equity in the companies they love.”
For Daplie, both campaigns have surpassed their original funding goals, which Bourgerie sees as validation to founders’ vision.
“We’re not just building a gadget, we’re starting a movement of data freedom. We like to say we’re putting the ‘I’ back in internet,” Bourgerie said.