5 tips for a successful hackathon/online app challenge submission


You or your team have worked hard on an app submission and now it’s time to sell your idea to the judges. But even a great app idea can fail if not presented correctly. Likewise, a less spectacular app will stand out with a great presentation. Whether it is in person or an online submission, follow these tips to stand out among your competitors.

Don’t forget your problem statement
Don’t lose sight of the problem your app is trying to solve. It’s easy to get lost in the technical functionalities of your app and lose sight of the big picture. Keep the problem statement short and dive right in.

Tell a story
To stand out in the crowd, it’s important to pitch something memorable or relatable. Stories are great at accomplishing both. Keep thinking of what that story will be throughout your development process. Not only will it help guide your app development but will require less stress when it comes time to present the story. Hint: Weave in that problem statement.

Read the directions
It’s something we’ve been told to do since grade school but is so often overlooked. The worst thing is to lose points because you missed a key criteria mentioned in the guidelines. Create a checklist upfront and check things off as you incorporate them.

Stick to essential workflows
Time is of the essence when you only have 3-5 minutes to present. There may be parts of your presentation that require basic or mundane flows. Consider setting up your demo in a way that you can skip these so you can focus on the juicy bits.

This applies more to live presentations where things can go wrong and you have no control over it. No one expects the app to work perfectly. So if you know the app might give up on you at certain points, have a backup plan in place. At the very least, make a joke and move on as soon as possible. Don’t get flustered and forget to close the presentation effectively.

Now its time to put these to the test with our Bitcasa CloudFS challenge. We’ve partnered with ChallengePost in search of creative uses of our new CloudFS APIs and are giving away $7,500 in cash prizes to top submissions. We already have over 30 teams building so don’t miss out on the fun and a chance to win great prizes.  Accept the challenge!

Can you think of more tips to share from your experiences? Leave us a comment below!

Say Hello to the Bitcasa Cloud Storage Platform

Helping Solve the Developer’s Dilemma Since 2014

Developers – the day you all have been waiting for is finally here! Today we announced the general availability of Bitcasa CloudFS, the world’s first cloud file system APIs that give developers control of user data and brand experience.

We were recently at Boxworks – that’s right, we go to Boxworks – talking to a developer working in the healthcare space who was a leveraging a Box API. He described a cringe-inducing scenario where his users were forced to register for a Box account before they could even use his application, and much of the user experience was hijacked by our friends at Box. And the worst part about this poor developer’s setup – Box got to keep his customers’ data, which hardly seems fair.

But what’s the alternative? For many developers building their own file system on top of public cloud infrastructure takes too much time, resources, effort and expertise that they don’t have. Until now this has created a real dilemma.

With Bitcasa CloudFS, developers can leverage our high performance, scalable and secure cloud infrastructure to rapidly deploy new applications – effectively solving the Developer’s Dilemma outlined above, and ensuring developers can leverage customizable cloud file system APIs without sacrificing their customers and user experience.

Additionally, the Bitcasa Cloud Storage Platform offers developers unmatched security and privacy with zero-knowledge, user controlled encryption keys, and highly scalable, high performance application storage, featuring smart-caching and server-side transcoding, as well as multi-cloud, multi-region data orchestration.

But don’t just take out word for it….

According to Ashish Nadkarni, File & Storage Analyst at IDC, “The scale of the file system in Bitcasa’s consumer cloud storage service is unprecedented, and provides a solid base for developers to build on.”

Since we announced the platform a few months ago in May, we’ve had more than 7,000 developers register for the developer program. (If you haven’t signed up, there’s no time like the present)

We are offering developers a free test package so that applications can be prototyped with five end-users, 25GB of storage, 10,000 API calls a month and basic support. Bitcasa CloudFS also includes three paid tiers and custom pricing options for high volume applications. More pricing details are available on our website here.

What if you are not a developer? What if you are a Telco, an OEM, managed service provider or value added reseller who is more interested in offering your customers cloud storage services? We have you covered. Our new Bitcasa Cloud Storage Platform also includes our Turn-key Drive service, which allows the organizations mentioned above to offer their customers comprehensive branded cloud storage services.

Think of it like an ‘iCloud in a Box’.

Bitcasa’s Turn-key Drive solution gives customers all the storage, streaming, security and sharing functionality of Bitcasa’s consumer cloud storage product and pre-built mobile apps in a white-labeled solution, which they control.

Like Bitcasa’s CloudFS APIs, Turn-key Drive also features Bitcasa’s robust, user controlled encryption and zero-knowledge storage, smart caching technology and regional storage capabilities etc.

The general availability of Bitcasa CloudFS and Turn-key Drive is finally here. If you’re not a developer and you’re wondering “Hey, what about me?!” don’t fret! Our consumer cloud storage service is not going anywhere and we’ll continue to invest in refining our platform so everybody wins.

So, developers, consumers, telcos, OEMs etc, what do you think? We are interested in your feedback. Tell us what you think and share your views with the Bitcasa Developer community.

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Start Building Today – CloudFS Open Beta


Attention Developers! Ask and you shall receive. Today, we’re thrilled to announce the open Beta release of our new CloudFS API Platform. Every day developers encounter multiple hurdles when trying to create the next killer app and we know that isn’t easy. One of the hardest hurdles for application developers is developing a backend infrastructure where their users account and data will be stored, and for most, the cloud is an obvious choice. “Cloudifying” an app leads to an overwhelming dilemma – create a do it yourself file system that sits on top of public cloud infrastructure; or take a shortcut and use a third-party cloud storage API, ultimately surrendering users and data. With CloudFS developers don’t have to worry about solving the developers dilemma; now they can focus on creating the next killer app, simple as that.  

Developer's Dilemma

User generated content is growing exponentially faster than available storage space, and solving this “space gap” problem has been our mission since 2011; whether it be for our consumers, partners, or developers. To help our developers take back control of their application data and users, we debuted CloudFS at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC back in May. Since then, we’ve been working with a few of our partners to test CloudFS and what we’ve seen from them has further validated our mission and completely blown us away.

The "space gap" problem

For example, our friends at DCT, an image processing and document management company, previously integrated with a third-party storage company, but ultimately wanted to keep their brand, data and users within their ecosystem. In order to accomplish this, they needed to build a custom cloud solution for their application. After countless meeting with IaaS providers they came to the realization that it would take a minimum of 6 months and tens of thousands of dollars to re-invent the cloud storage wheel. With Bitcasa, DCT was able to integrate CloudFS into their SimpleScan application in 2 weeks, which is now being deployed at point-of-sale systems across the country.


With this open Beta we invite developers to come and build on a platform that has scaled to 45 petabytes of data for customers in 140 countries. Application developers can sign up for a free CloudFS account, which will give them immediate access to the APIs on the CloudFS platform. We have a huge pipeline of new features we’re putting final touches on. We’re working hard to expose our sync, transcoding, ACL, and other APIs, while giving developers access to a rich set of analytics to help them better understand their users’ behavior.


We are excited, and hope you are too!

Happy building!

The Bitcasa Team

Another one in the books – Three years and counting


Time really does fly when you’re having fun! Three years ago today, Bitcasa came into being by way of official incorporation. The early days here could easily be described as a scene out of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” as our founding engineers lived together in preparation for TechCrunch Disrupt 2011. The team worked around the clock building a Mac and Windows beta that would be gracing the stage for its debut. After launching at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, the beta invite list grew to 50,000 users overnight and Bitcasa was born. 

TechCrunch Disrupt 2011

The Bitcasa vision and goal has always been simple: to solve the challenge of capacity and fundamentally change the way people store, share and access their files. In February 2013, the hard drive died when we came out of Beta and launched the “Bitcasa Infinite Drive”.

Bitcasa Killed the Hard Drive

In just one year, we’ve experienced a lot, to say the least. Last year we were a nimble team of 50 in Mountain View, California, storing 30 petabytes of data with customers worldwide. Now we’re a solid team of 70 people and steadily growing. To better accommodate the Bitcasa family, we recently had to say “Goodbye, Mountain View!” and “Hello, San Mateo!”. Much like the rapid growth of our team, the amount of data we’re storing is expanding vastly, as well. We’re now storing over 40 petabytes of data under management with users in over 140 countries with regionalized storage in the US, Asia, and EU to serve them.

We’re continuing to refine our product and have a lot of great things on the way. Our mission has always been to help our users solve the “space gap” problem, and we remain vigorously focused on that mission today; whether it be for our consumers, our partners, or developers on our platform.

Space Gap

A huge “Thank You” to our users who have been with us over the last 3 years! The Bitcasa community is smart, tech-forward, and passionate — the best kind of community we could have ever asked for. We are so excited for everything that the future has in store for us!



Your friends at Bitcasa


Samsung to Bitcasa: Let’s Take Our Relationship to the Next Level

Korean tech giant, Samsung (you may have heard of them) has been flirting with Bitcasa for just under a year now. We began the relationship in August 2013 with a deal that meant Bitcasa’s Windows 8 app was pre-loaded on Samsung ATIV PCs with a free two-month subscription to Bitcasa.

From there, the relationship flourished and it wasn’t long before we were being pre-installed on Samsung Galaxy NotePRO and TabPRO devices, and offering customers three months of free storage.

Today, we took our relationship with Samsung to the next level with Bitcasa apps now pre-loaded on Samsung Windows 8.1 devices worldwide, and new Samsung customers receiving 50GB of free Bitcasa cloud storage for two years.


Why are mobile providers, like Samsung, so smitten with Bitcasa?

Samsung is an innovator, and is always looking for what’s next. As consumers begin using more devices – mobiles, tablets, smart-watches, etc. the migration of the hard drive to the cloud is inevitable.

While other file sync and share services have been around for some time, they were never designed as hard drive replacement, and lack security features to enable consumers to store important documents and files in the cloud.

Bitcasa was not built with file sync and share in mind; it was designed to replace the hard drive entirely. With this in mind, security and accessibility were key priorities in the development of the service.

In contrast to other cloud storage services that encrypt on the server, Bitcasa encrypts your data on the client-side, so that it is secure before it’s even sent to the cloud. The user-controlled encryption means that not even Bitcasa is able to see your data, it is completely private.

Last week we became the first popular cloud storage service to store data in the region of the user, extending our commitment to user privacy. This means our users in Europe and Asia have their data store in their region, not the United States. Our competitors may cache data in-region, but they will ultimately send your data back to the United States where it is subject to U.S law and surveillance practices.

To create seamless integration with devices, Bitcasa uses smart-caching technology that ensures the files you use most frequently are easily accessible, while our streaming and media transcoding capabilities give you the ability to stream a range of content and file types from your Bitcasa Drive.

Being the creator of innovative devices, large and small, Samsung knows that the hard drive of the future will reside in the cloud. By extending their relationship with Bitcasa, Samsung is helping customers ensure their data is secure and accessible wherever and however they want it.


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Ease your Move to a More Secure Home with Mover!

No one enjoys moving – it’s always such a difficult process. But, with our newest API partner Mover, moving your data from cloud-to-cloud has become a breeze! Mover provides over 20 connectors to various storage providers, making it super easy to move or archive your files from other storage providers to your Bitcasa account. Users who’ve chosen Bitcasa for its privacy, security, media streaming, and ease of use, can now move all their files right into Bitcasa with just one click!

When we tested Mover’s simple UI, it literally took just a few minutes to move all our files into Bitcasa. You simply select a source, such as Dropbox, select Bitcasa as the destination, and then click Run. Mover will start a background task to move your files and then notify you when it’s done!

Try out Mover

So why use Mover with Bitcasa? Well, it supports these common use cases:

1. Get organized. Easily move your files from one cloud to another, so you don’t have to worry where you put what.

2. Clear up space. Migrate large amounts of business or personal data for easy archiving.

3. Never lose your data. Schedule regular backups of your cloud accounts into Bitcasa, which supports full versioning.

Bitcasa gives you full privacy on all your files with client-side encryption. This means that you, and no one else, can access your data. Bitcasa also uses regional data storage so that uploaded data remains local. This is awesome, especially for international users, as it offers the benefit of faster performance coupled with additional data protection.

Additionally, you can even move files from your own private servers such as ftp, webdav, S3, or Rackspace. Mover ensures you have the fastest server-to-server bandwidth between the source and destination. If you have a lot data, Mover can work with you to optimize the transfer, too. This is perfect for businesses who want to pre-load their Bitcasa account with existing data and files.

Mover is the best way to move files to, from or even between cloud storage providers. Ready to give it a shot? Learn how easily you can move your files to Bitcasa today!

Here’s how it works: How Mover.io works

Can You Trust the Cloud?

Can you trust the cloud?

Storing and sharing photos, videos and documents through the cloud is supposed to be safe now, right? The technology isn’t THAT new…aren’t the security bugs worked out by now?

Many consumers are still concerned, which is not surprising after the NSA’s online spying program was revealed last year. A 2013 survey of consumers in the UK found low confidence in cloud storage’s ability to protect privacy, and recent privacy breaches are only adding to the paranoia.

The risk comes from using platforms that don’t have top-of-the-line security measures. Never intended to be primary cloud storage, services like Dropbox and Box entered the market early, and were designed for file sync and share — as a result, they have intrinsic security weaknesses (which they have been working to repair ever since). Use these services and your files may not remain your own.

The thing is, private and secure cloud technology does exist.

Unlike Dropbox and Box, Bitcasa has operated from its start on the premise that people use the cloud to store everything and, therefore, everything needs comprehensive protection. We designed Bitcasa’s storage platform to replace your local hard drive, giving you a place not only to store all of your content, but also to access it from any device at any time. Of course, with this approach, security had to be front and center from the outset.

We secure your data by giving you the keys to it. Your Bitcasa account encrypts data on your device before sending it to our servers. So even we can’t see your data. No one can, except you. Even if we were compelled to hand over data to the NSA, or if someone gained access to our servers, all they would see is tens of billions of unattributable scrambled blocks of code. Absolutely nothing you have saved to the cloud would come through in any readable fashion to anyone other than you, or people you choose to share your data with.

Other popular services cache user data locally before sending it back to the United States to be stored (regardless of where the user is located), which leaves data vulnerable to interception and surveillance. We are the first popular consumer cloud storage service to offer region-specific storage, which gives our users the ability to store data in their region. For example, customers in Europe and Asia Pacific will have their data stored in their region, instead of in the United States. This puts information out of reach of foreign surveillance, and also improves the performance of our service in these regions.

So can you trust cloud storage? Absolutely. Should that trust depend upon how you’ve chosen to access the cloud and store your information on it? Yes. Is it wise to use cloud storage platforms from familiar brands that may not offer the best in security? We can’t see the logic there.

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Bitcasa – Building for Bigger, Faster, Stronger

Over the last few months, we’ve had users ask us what we’ve been up to. So, we here at Bitcasa felt it was time for an update so everyone can see just what we’ve been working on.

Since launching our service out of Beta in February of 2013 (we’re over a year old!), we’ve spent a lot of time rounding out the feature set of our apps and have come a long way improving the user experience and stability on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and the Web. In that time, we’ve grown our user base immensely and are now storing and incredible 40PB of user data both safely and securely in our cloud.

Although we’ve made a lot of progress, we’ve certainly heard a number of our users when they mention lower than expected performance. Some noted that they are experiencing slow download and upload speeds while others mentioned that it took too long to load their Drive or their photos. As a company that uses our own product internally on a daily basis, we definitely felt your pain! However, over the last few months we took a long, hard look at our infrastructure and it became clear that it was time for a re-vamp.

Doing what we’re trying to do here at Bitcasa is difficult. Bitcasa’s fundamental message is that you can have all of your data on the cloud and no longer need to store it on one single device. We all know devices break, get lost or stolen or just simply run out of storage space way too soon. Bitcasa lets you safely and securely keep every file you’ve ever owned at your fingertips. But in order to make this happen, we need to bend the laws of physics. Making files seem local when they are, in fact, in the cloud – and doing it in a speedy way for users in 140 countries – isn’t easy. But if Bitcasa is going to continue to keep customers happy, we’ll need to keep getting better and faster.

So over the last few months we’ve been heads-down improving our infrastructure. The goal is to make Bitcasa faster and even more reliable than it is today, without compromising our commitment to security. This work will be released over the summer in 4 parts:

  • Fully regionalized storage
  • New download server infrastructure
  • New upload server infrastructure
  • New API infrastructure for better app performance

We’re very excited and proud of the work our team is doing and look forward to sharing details over the next few weeks. Most importantly, we at Bitcasa are so grateful to all of our customers for providing such great feedback and showing support while we continue to change the way the world’s data is stored and accessed.


- Luke Behnke, Director of Product

Build a Better World with Bitcasa at HackSummit 2014

Calling all developers! Are you ready for the HackSummit in San Francisco this weekend – June 14-15. Bitcasa is challenging developers to help non-profit organizations in the Bay Area to better manage their data and files.

San Francisco is home to a wide variety of non-profit organizations; all of who have the city’s and citizens’ best interests at heart. In many cases, these organizations need to access files and information from outside of the office, while the nature of their work requires information is kept secure. However, many of these organizations can’t afford to fund an adequate secure file management and storage solution, which could increase the productivity and mobility of their organization.

To help these non-profits Bitcasa is challenging developers to use the Bitcasa Developer API to create a secure, collaborative file management system. With user-controlled encryption, smart-caching technology, and media streaming and transcoding capabilities, Bitcasa’s Developer API offers a secure storage layer that is easily accessible for its users on any devices.

Developers: Here is your chance to help make a real difference in the city of San Francisco. The team that creates the best solution will also receive a $250 for their efforts, adding to their good-deed in helping the nonprofit community in San Francisco.

What:          HackSummit Hackathon for Change

When:         10.00 a.m., 14 June – 6pm, June 15

Where:        Change.org Offices;  383 Rhode Island St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Register to participate here:http://hacksummit.com/join/#Participate

We look forward to hacking with you this weekend!

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Apple CloudKit: A Nod to Bitcasa CloudFS Platform

Apple’s iCloud and Apple CloudKit announcement last week is a smart move to create additional customer loyalty and developer interest. From our perspective, the announcement validates our vision (announced last month) for the Bitcasa CloudFS Platform, which features a high-performance cloud file system (FS) and our Turn-key Clouds ‘iCloud in a Box’ solution. It also highlights the growing need for better developer-focused cloud storage services that reduce time and infrastructure headaches for developers, which is exactly what our Bitcasa CloudFS API is designed to do.

The Apple CloudKit is a great option for iOS developers who are less concerned with owning the user, and are content with keeping data within the closed Apple ecosystem. For many iOS-focused developers this will quickly add a layer of storage to their application. However, developers who would prefer to give users secure access to data across multiple devices and operating systems, while also owning their customers’ data, should consider the Bitcasa CloudFS API.

Our Bitcasa CloudFS API is a secure, high-performance and scalable cloud file system (FS) for applications. Bitcasa’s leading security technology with user-controlled encryption helps developers securely manage their users’ data to ensure data privacy, while our regionalized storage offers unmatched flexibility and the ability to store user data in specific regions or countries to meet data governance requirements.


Bitcasa CloudFS API


To boost application performance, the Bitcasa CloudFS API offers smart caching functionality, while media transcoding and streaming give your application the ability to view any file instantly. Additionally, having access to other feature-rich APIs that enable sync, share and collaboration functionality allows the app developer to provide a richer experience for the user.

Most importantly, developers don’t have to surrender their users and give up their data, or their brand to Apple. With Bitcasa you own the data, and you can build it your way. It’s your customer, your brand, your cloud.

Before you get locked into an exclusive relationship with Apple, consider a platform-agnostic approach that gives your application cross-platform functionality, robust security through user-controlled encryption, and above all gives you ownership of your users’ data and experience.

Bitcasa CloudFS Platform: Your Customers, Your Brand, Your Cloud.



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