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Mosaic is keeping an eye on the big picture

By DENIS PAISTE
New Hampshire Union Leader

July 08. 2012 12:33AM
Andrew Young, left, and Gerald Murphy ot Mosaic Storage Systems, Inc., have developed a photo archive system that intergrates with Adobe Lightroom. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)


MANCHESTER - Co-founders Gerard Murphy and Andy Young created Mosaic Storage Systems to solve the problem of how to handle the thousands of images photographers shoot in the digital age.

Their first product, Mosaic Archive, takes digital copies of photographs and stores them on the company's servers, which users can access from anywhere over the Internet. It launched in December 2011.

MosaicView for Lightroom, their second product, now is in beta tests with a limited number of users, but its release is anticipated in the next several weeks.

Murphy, CEO, and Young, chief technology officer, started Mosaic in March 2011. Both are 32 years old.

Liberating workflow

During an interview at Mosaic's offices in the abi Innovation Hub, 33 S. Commercial St., they said the number of users has been growing about 20 percent a month. It hasn't made public actual numbers of users.

'We're trying to allow people to have access to all the stuff for their own personal use,' Murphy said.

'Maybe you sit on your couch and you want to rate your photos, that type of workflow is becoming more essential and that's what we're trying to help folks do,' he said.

'That workflow is largely stuck on one machine, their main machine, or their workstation,' Young said. 'They have to do all that stuff sitting in that chair, so we're trying to really liberate that and the ability to do that work from anywhere.'

Mosaic won the VentureX pitch competition in February 2012, co-sponsored by abi Innovation Hub and Wasabi Ventures.

Venture Capitalist and Managing Partner at Wasabi Ventures Tom 'TK' Kuegler said Friday, 'We have about 65 portfolio companies that we've invested in. In all honesty, Mosaic is in the top 10 of those companies.'

'Their bread and butter is someone who might take 1,000 pictures on a weekend and might edit those pictures,' Kuegler said. That's a different market from the casual photographer who just wants to share photos with friends and family online, he said.

Digital photography has dramatically increased the number of images that advanced amateur and professional photographers shoot. That means backing up their photos consumes vast amount of memory, measured in terabytes rather than gigabytes.

Mosaic solves the problem by shipping Archive users a hard drive that they plug into their computer and load their photos. They then ship the hard drive back to Mosaic which plugs it into its own servers and copies the images. Mosaic leases space for its servers at Colo Space in Bedford.

That allows Mosaic to copy a terabyte of data in couple of days instead of a couple of months.

Integrating Lightroom

MosaicView integrates with Adobe Lightroom and once users download the Mosaic tool to their desktop, it automatically updates their images and albums as they make changes.

'Once you've told us that you want to you want to synchronize your stuff with Mosaic, it's all updated in the background. It's not a manual process at all,' Young said.

'Basically the minute you put something into Lightroom, it's available a couple minutes later on our app,' he said.

The Lightroom product uploads previews, lower resolution copies of photos, rather than the full data originals, such as RAW files, uploaded to Archive. Adobe's Lightroom product has several million users nationally.

Murphy and Young demonstrated MosaicView on an iPad. They'll release a Mac version first, then hope to release a PC version shortly thereafter.

Mosaic operates on a monthly subscription basis, varying by storage space. There are four plans for the storage product, starting with a less than 400 gigabyte plan for $12 a month.

Young attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), while Murphy attended Gettysburg College and got an M.B.A. at Babson College.

They met while students at The Derryfield School in Manchester and have been friends since seventh grade. They graduated in 1998.

One benefit of winning VentureX and its tie-in with Wasabi Ventures is that

Kuegler has provided Mosaic with the services to three of his programmers who are based in the Ukraine.

Although Mosaic isn't profitable yet, the founders said they can foresee profitability.

Besides the VentureX prize, Mosaic had seed money from 10X Venture Partners and several angel, or individual early stage, investors. Angel investor Ben Littauer serves on Mosaic's board.

Down the road may be a product for Aperture, Apple's competitor to Lightroom.

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Denis Paiste may be reached at dpaiste@unionleader.com.


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