Alarm:clock is a daily news site that evaluates privately-held technology startups in the areas of hardware, software, the Internet, and wireless communications. One industry overview and one company profile by alarm:clock’s editors come to Technology Review every Wednesday by special arrangement.
Gloolab’s software allows consumers to access their digital media remotely.
HQ: Palo Alto, CA
Management: David Arfin is CEO and founder. Prior to GlooLabs, Arfin was co-founder, CFO, and VP of business development for Flywheel Communications, an Internet rights-based management company. He was also founder and CEO of CLE Group, an early online continuing education program.
Investors: In October 2005, Siemens Acceleration in Communications invested in GlooLabs. Previous investors include Innovent, an investment arm of Nokia. GlooLabs has not disclosed the amount of these funding rounds.
Business Model: GlooLabs’ software is a Java-based platform that allows digital media stored on a home computer to be accessed remotely through any Internet-enabled computer, mobile phone, or PDA. For example, consumers could access their home audio collection while at work or share pictures and videos with friends and family without sending bulky e-mail messages or waiting for lengthy uploads. Additionally, GlooLabs enables mobile phones to be used as wireless MP3 players without the need for significant local storage capacity.
GlooLabs’ software works with a number of operating systems and is portable to different hardware platforms. The company makes money by licensing technology to service providers and device manufacturers. Important licensees include Samsung, which will use the technology in the Korean market. One of the first GlooLabs implementations is with Normsoft. For $34.95, that company will let consumers download an Gloolabs-built application that will enable them to access music through their PDAs.
Competitors: Nevo Media has comparable software. Sling Media’s Slingbox does something similar with TV, allowing owners to watch a video stream from their DVR or home cable or satellite connection on any computer connected to the Internet.
Dirt: It’s anybody’s guess which company will make portable media a reality for the general consumer. Apple Computer might do it with future innovations, but a lot of other companies, including Samsung and Nokia, are vying for a piece of the pie. Significantly, both Nokia and Siemens have invested in tiny GlooLabs. Its software has also been validated by good reviews; but so far it has barely registered in the marketplace. We hope to see it in devices in time for the 2006 holiday season.