If you’ve ever fried your hard drive, had a camera stolen or lost years of photos the elements, Logan Metcalfe understands your pain.
“You hear horror stories all the time, even with people losing their phones and they haven’t thought about doing a camera upload to DropBox or something,” said the Greenville resident from the third floor of the Bank of America building downtown. Even then, he says, the digital memories may as well be lost if they’re buried within thousands of other memories, all on different devices, with different people and in different places.
So he created his own solution: a go-between content curator called Arkiver aimed at pulling together important digital files in a kind of multi-purpose family scrapbook.
“The idea right now is you’ve got all this stuff. You share a small subset of it on Facebook, but there is this middle ground where you could be sharing a whole lot more with family and friends,” said Metcalfe. “There’s not a whole lot of great options for that right now, which is where Arkiver comes in.”
The web-based platform can import photos, audio, video, quotes, notes and PDFs from a variety of existing media platforms and devices, but lets users store all of that imported data on their personal Dropbox account, he said. That way, users have control of their files, even if the proprietary service holding them – think Evernote or Flickr – shuts down.
The platform currently connects to Facebook, Instagram, Picasa, Flickr, Dropbox and Amazon Cloud, and can import photos from laptops and smartphones.
Metcalfe says the aim is to use Arkiver as more than just a file hub, however. Family members can add notes, locations and context, which give each memory more meaning in the long term. A photo of a sunset, for example, might just be a photo of a sunset if you don’t know what happened the day it was captured, he said.
“Even if you have place and date, you still miss a little bit of the flavor around the stories,” he said. The tool works both for younger generations – small children who don’t remember that trip to the beach, for example – as well as older generations passing along their history, he said.
For now, Arkiver accounts are free up to 200 files. After that, it’s a $24 annual subscription that will automatically push your files to your personal Dropbox for backup. Heavy users with Dropbox may need to buy additional storage, he said, but data storage prices have continued to fall in recent years and users can download data to hard drives for long-term storage.
“There’s just a lot of life stories that are being lost, even though we’re capturing more photos and all,” he said. “With any kind of digital storage, there’s risk…A lot of that history is more fragile than it was, even back in the old days.”
The next step, said Metcalfe, is launching a native mobile app in September, and the beginning of a funding round. He’s aiming for $750,000 to help build out tools, conduct user research and start building a user base, which sits at around 200 accounts with virtually zero marketing, he says.
“Part of what we’re trying to provide is just knowledge around a great process for being able to, let’s say, save and share your stuff and backup your digital life,” he said.