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The venture capital arm of the National Association of Realtors today announced that it is investing $3 million in Symform, the Seattle cloud storage and data recovery startup founded by former Microsoft engineers Praerit Garg and Bassam Tabarra.

Total funding now stands at $20 million, including the recent investment from Second Century Ventures as well as money from existing investors Longworth Venture Partners, OVP Venture Partners and WestRiver Capital.

Why is the National Association of Realtors interested in cloud storage?

Matthew Schiltz

Dale Stinton, president of Second Century Ventures and CEO of the National Association of Realtors, explains that they are doing everything they can to give agents an edge.

“As the volume of electronic information continues to grow, proper data backup and protection is becoming mission-critical for all businesses everywhere,” Stinton said in a release. “Symform is a great fit in our investment portfolio and is also tailor-made for Realtors, who have a strong need for a cost-effective cloud data backup solution.”

Symform offers unlimited free storage through a peer-to-peer data storage network. The technology is unique in that it allows users to contribute unused, local storage in exchange for free or flat-fee cloud storage. In the words of the company, you pay with “bytes, instead of bucks.”

Symform is led by Matthew Schiltz, who joined the company in summer of 2011 after serving as CEO of DocuSign and CourtLink. Interestingly, as you may recall, the National Association of Realtors also is a backer of DocuSign, the maker of electronic signature technology.

As a result of the financing, Constance Freedman of Second Century Ventures has joined the Symform board. In the release, Schiltz noted that the National Association of Realtor’s involvement adds momentum as Symform builds “the world’s largest virtual datacenter.”

The company declined to disclose its employee headcount.

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