pCloud interview: looking ahead, expansion, and more
pCloud discusses explosive growth, COVID-19, and goals for the future
pCloud may be a small company, but it’s one of the most popular online storage services in the world, and has made our list of the best cloud storage platforms several years running. Based out of Switzerland, Europe, pCloud owns all its own servers (a point of pride for the company) and takes the legendary Swiss privacy to heart—security is paramount.
We caught up with pCloud’s Ivan Dimitrov to learn more about what it’s been like growing as a small firm among cloud-drive giants, the impacts of COVID-19 on business and office life, and where things are headed in the future.
Can you give us a brief overview of the company and what it does?
pCloud is the fastest-growing Europe-based secure cloud storage provider. The company was founded in Switzerland, as its privacy laws are the strictest in Europe.
Our mission is to give people the ability to access all of their files on any device, and to use and share them no matter where they are, in the most secure way possible.
We are currently a team of 32 people, and are very proud that as such a small business, our service has been able to compete with the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, which have thousands of employees.
In spite of our size, we have over 14,000,000 users around the world, and this number is growing rapidly. We also have apps for every major platform: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android—even Linux.
One of our biggest differentiators, and another thing we are very proud of, is that we own all of our servers. We do not rent from Google, Amazon, or Microsoft, like most of our smaller competitors.
What’s been your biggest success, and why?
We believe that our biggest success is yet to come. We’re still relatively small, especially in relation to the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
If we had to pick one, though, it’s probably the fact that we’re so independent. As I said, we own all our own infrastructure and capital, as the company is privately funded.
What have been the biggest challenges, and how did you tackle them?
One of the biggest challenges for us has been finding the right talent. What we want to do can’t be done by just anybody. Everyone that is currently on our team is a high performer. For us, problem-solving skills are mandatory. To be a private company and compete with the big players in the cloud storage space is very, very hard, so we need the best people we can find.
A second challenge relates to the fast-changing environment in our niche. Every day, there is something new that needs to be addressed, whether it’s iOS 14 privacy issues, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in Europe, or some bug we might have. But our team is always ready for whatever challenge might come our way.
What impacts - both positive and negative - has the pandemic had on your business?
This has been a very interesting period, yet not completely unexpected. And we are very, very thankful for the opportunities it has provided.
For us, the pandemic had a mostly positive impact on our business. Many people were forced to start working from home; thus, a lot of them needed to rely on cloud storage to access and work with the files they need in the most secure way possible, which is our speciality.
Also, as we are a software company, we can work from anywhere. We just need access to the internet.
Again, we are hugely thankful that our business grew during these hard times. In return, we had a campaign from which a part of the profits was donated to health workers.
One negative consequence was that the communication with our partners was difficult in the beginning. But as things progressed, everything normalised and things started to go well in that sense too.
What new market challenges and opportunities have you seen emerge?
With the pandemic, a lot of people were forced to adapt to new ways of working. This gave us a chance to put our system through a stress test, with all the new people that were starting to use cloud storage for the first time. We learned a lot, and made some changes that we wouldn’t have otherwise foreseen, to make it easier for people that are just starting to understand the power of the cloud.
For us, this was really important, because our service has never been simpler to use yet so powerful. We’re still challenged to make it even better, so we are constantly working to improve. Our goal is to help more people understand the importance of cloud storage, and how much easier it can make working life in a modern company.
Are you taking advantage of the new world of blended and remote working? If so, how?
Yes, we are. People in our office now have the freedom to come in whenever they want. We just have a few days of the month that we need the whole team on site to set goals and prioritise, but other than that, everyone can choose whether to come to the office or not.
We took advantage of this to build some cool stuff in the space, like a gym, because a lot of people on our team like sports, and we know that keeping fit and healthy is important to them. Again, we are very thankful that we have the chance to work from anywhere. It even encouraged us to use our own service more, and a lot of good ideas came from that.
What are your aims for the future?
Our goals for the future are really big. We want to be one of the main cloud storage services on the market. We are catching up with Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive very quickly, and this is something we will focus on.
We are profitable and want to keep improving on our growth. We know that we have one of the best services on the market, and the main thing we are focusing on right now is getting it into the pockets and onto the computers of as many people as possible.
We want to prove that it’s not only the companies with thousands of employees that can make great services. So far, we are on the right track, and we know that if we keep working, it will happen.
How do you see the cloud storage sector changing in the next five to 10 years?
As the amount of information being generated continues to increase in leaps and bounds each year, we believe that cloud storage will be an essential tool for every person and business.
If you want to be competitive with your company, or just want to keep all your memories or important documents in a safe place, you will have to use cloud storage.
Growth over the next 10 years will be huge, and we are preparing for it. Also, we see security and privacy as big factors in the importance of cloud storage in society. As more and more things like company data and government documents go digital, proper, secure storage will be the most important consideration.
This is where cloud storage will come into its own. We can’t wait for this, and we will be ready to help every step of the way.
It's also worth seeing where it ranks among our guides to the best secure cloud storage; the best cloud storage for photos; the best apps to share files; the best cloud storage for business; the best free cloud storage; the best encrypted cloud storage; the best cloud backup services; and the best photo storage apps.
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