I bumped into ge.tt a few weeks back and immediately fell in love with it. It's file sharing done right, simple, non-intrusive and extremely intuitive. Also, having ge.tt as a domain name does help people remember it. I had a chance to talk to Tobias Baunbæk, the CEO and co-founder behind this Danish based company. He shared the path they've taken and how ge.tt became to be what it is today, not to forget where it will go.
The service itself can be summed up quickly. It's basically one click file sharing. You choose the file you want to share and it begins uploading it. While it uploads the file, you can begin sharing a short-url link to your friends. It works incredibly well and it's very simple to use.
How it all started
Tobias Baunbæk had been working on a chat client with a friend, Mathias Buus Madsen (who later became his co-founder in Ge.tt), as a fun little project as they studied computer science. They played around with the in-browser chat client and thought it would be fun to add a file sharing feature to it, so you could share files with people easily simply through the browser.
"It became so easy to share files; not just between us, but between our friends as well. We saw the potential in instant file sharing and kept on developing the service," states Tobias. This file sharing service became kkloud.com and they won the Venture Cup software category with the service, getting some early gratification for their work.
The guys realised that they needed to add storage, so users didn't need to keep their computers on at all times. To pursus this new direction, they left university and moved from Århus to Copenhagen. After this, they hired a skilled developer and a business person, Arne Winther to help them with the business side of things. Tobias and Mathias showed some true entrepreneurial skill in realising that they were good at developing the service, but they needed more expertise in business and thus made the choice to hire Winther.
The business side of things
Ge.tt has performed a so called soft launch, which accidentally went viral. The guys wanted to see how people use the service and through that work out their business model before actually doing a proper launch. They put the service online in the beginning of November and on the 26th of November it caught traction. With the help of this, they have been able to understand and see how people use the service.
According to Tobias, use cases for Ge.tt fall into two different categories. Firstly, there are the people who want to use it for sharing files who don't have other means. The second group of people want to show their files to their friends in social networks - Twitter or Facebook for example.
Tobias states that they want to ultimately make ge.tt a service that combines these two types of uses. "We will do that by making as much content as possible accessible in the browser. Our main goal is to make Ge.tt the best and most wanted way to view family photos, listen to your friends’ music and read any type of documents - without having to install anything on your computer", he continues.
The business model is basically a freemium approach. Free file sharing will come with some ads and limitations to how your files will be available for download. The paid model will allow users to upload files and have others either download them and embed them if they want to.
So what was the initial response?
As mentioned earlier, the site picked up a lot of traffic on Friday the 26th of November. On that day, it was found by a Reddit user, followed soon after by Hacker News. After that, the site has been featured on lifehacker, The Next Web and Mashable among others. In a week, the site went from 300 to 10 000 signups. Tobias mentions that the figure is significant as you're not required to signup to use the service. Usage numbers are up as well. Over 100 000 visitors have visited the site and over 40 000 files have been shared. These spikes enabled to better understand and address scalability issues at an early date.
Getting all this done in less than 2 months has shown and reminded us all again, just how quick and cost effective new internet companies can be. I'm sure ge.tt will arouse more interest as it continues to develop their service.