Mylio is going global.
The Bellevue, Wash. startup, which is known for its photo organizing app but has branched out to include more than just pictures, has landed $25 million in funding through Chinese financial services firm China Everbright in a joint venture to continue building what it calls the “world’s first private cloud.” As part of the deal, Mylio will open a research and development facility in Hengqin, a city in the Guangdong province that the Chinese government has declared a Special Economic Zone for collaboration and innovation.
The new facility will be focused on AI and machine learning products specific to Hengqin and getting the Mylio platform and app to the Chinese mainland market. China Everbright will help distribute Mylio’s products in China, and the deal opens the door for Mylio to test out other products in the Chinese markets.
Mylio is the brainchild of David Vaskevitch, the former Microsoft chief technology officer. In his Microsoft days, Vaskevitch was known for leading photo expeditions and exhibiting his digital photography. That passion, combined with the frustration of organizing a large photo library, led him to launch Mylio in 2012.
Vaskevitch explained Mylio’s latest developments in an interview with GeekWire Friday. He described Mylio as a productivity platform similar to a combination of Windows and Office, with a focus on mobile devices.
The private cloud, as Vaskevitch defines it, is not an alternative to cloud service providers. It represents everyone’s devices — phones, computers, tablets, cars, watches — that are increasingly connected and how they communicate. Mylio aims to make it easier to automatically sync between these devices so that people have access to photos and documents, whenever and wherever.
“Those devices all communicate with each other, without depending on a central controller, and there may or may not be a cloud in the picture,” Vaskevitch said of Mylio’s capabilities.
Vaskevitch targeted China because of its mobile-centric nature. Mylio is built on a single code base, Vaskevitch said, meaning it functions the same way on a Samsung Galaxy or iPhone as it would on a computer or tablet. He believes China is embracing this mobile revolution more so than the U.S.
“We see this big transition happening to a world where normal people and small businesses’ main computer is a phone or tablet,” Vaskevitch said. “That’s part of the wave we want to ride. It’s the transition from hundreds of millions of computers to billions of computers, and China is one of the main places where that is happening.”
Today, Mylio has 30 employees working out of its office in the Bellevue Place complex. Vaskevitch said it was too early to know how many people will work out of the R&D facility in China. The company has approximately 60 million users at the moment, a number that he said has been growing at a rate of about 17 percent quarter-over-quarter.