As MSPmentor recently noted, there are dozens of Box and Dropbox alternatives in the file sharing and syncing market. A growing number of those offerings now have MSP partner programs. But how are individual companies trying to differentiate? In the case of Egnyte CEO Vineet Jain, I got some clear answers. Here's the update.

About a week ago, Jain and I sat down for a casual 30-minute meeting in New York. That "brief" discussion turned into a 90-minute journey. Far more than techno babble, we spoke about the American Dream (he came to this country with $100 in his pocket), family, values and far more. You could sense that he wants Egnyte to succeed because he wants Egnyte's employees and their families to succeed -- to grab their piece of the American Dream and never let go.

Back to the Technology...

But what about the actual company and the technology? Here's a bullet-list recap of the conversation:

1. Pure Cloud? Nope: While some file syncing and sharing services live entirely in the cloud, Egnyte expects hybrid services to stick around quite some time. That's why the company has on-premises capabilities that also extend out to public clouds. And if you want a pure cloud approach, Egnyte has that, too.

2. Three Secret Weapons: Actually, they're not so secret. If you study the company you'll notice Egnyte has strong relationships with Google Drive (GOOG), NetApp (NTAP) and NetGear (NTGR). Google also is an investor in the company. Let's think about those relationships for a bit:

  • Google is building some of the world's largest, most advanced cloud services available. Egnyte's on-premises technology will work more and more closely with Google's cloud. That's worth watching really closely over the long haul.
  • NetApp has a massive following amid mid-market and enterprise customers. Now, Egnyte can connect those on-premises storage systems out to the cloud, and coordinate file management between all those environments.
  • NetGear has a big following in the small and midsize market. Those NAS systems are good targets for MSPs that want to extend on-premises file management out to the cloud.

3. Target Markets: Box and Dropbox are used across large, midsize and small businesses. I sense that most rival file syncing and sharing services target smaller companies. Egnyte sees the 500 to 10,000 user opportunity as its market sweet spot.

4. Feet on the Street: To build the business, Jain has decided not to hire a direct sales force. Instead, the feet on the street are channel partners. Recent partners include Quest, Cal Net Technology Group and SolutionWorx.

5. The results so far: Egnyte now has 175 employees. Over 1 billion files are shared and managed daily by Egnyte's system. I don't have a feel for the company's revenue or net income.

Next Moves

Where will Egnyte head next? Keep a close eye on the distribution market... And we'll be sure to check in with Jain regularly to see how the American Dream is potentially unfolding within the halls of Egnyte.