"It is a cable-less cable," says Ananthraman, who's a 1994 IIT-Madras grad and an Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore postgraduate. "It's easy and secure like a cable for transferring files between two devices, but without the hassle and clutter." No tricky software installations, no lengthy configuration procedures and no complicated logins or passwords. Plug it in and you are ready to go.
He teamed up with Kal Takru, his colleague at Singapore's A*STAR and the co-founder, to develop iTwin in Singapore. "We form a great team. While I handle technology, he handles operational aspects." Kal was born in Dehradun and completed his studies in Singapore where they met.
The device was named among the Techcrunch 50, a global list of promising startups, and the duo got their second round of funding last week. The unique minimaliztic structure also won the 2011 Red Dot Design Award for outstanding product design. And it has been named an international CES (the biggest consumer electronics exhibition in the world) Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree.
But if the name and design makes you think of an Apple connection, think again. "I have an identical twin brother who is a doctor in England. I feel like I have a direct link to him. When he falls sick, I fall sick," he says, smiling. This 'connection' between 'identical twins' led to the name iTwin. And it's not just the design. Everything related to this product seems to have a pattern. It was launched on 10/10/10. Ask him what's the reason and he states his "fondness for number theory".
There are cloud services like Dropbox and Sugarsync which achieve the same function and for free, but iTwin has clear advantages, the creators claim. "The data always remains on your computer and the transfer is fully encrypted, meaning you are in complete control with your very own setup. And it is extremely user-friendly with no setting up pains," says Ananthraman. If you lose one USB, just unplug the other one from PC to secure all your data. And you can also disable the other USB remotely by using a passcode generated at the time of pairing the devices for the first time.
"I find it ruffling that my personal data is sitting on some other server. After recent concerns about privacy, Dropbox redefined its user terms and they are not comforting. And these services are not free beyond a certain point, say 2GB," he says.
Regarding future plans, they are currently focusing on the US and Europe but are very keen on India. "Kal is in Delhi looking at options and talking with distributors," he says. "Next year, we plan to hit big retail stores like Staples and BestBuy in the US."