Protonet (YC W16) Runs All Your Collaboration Tools From a Small Orange Box

by Alexis Ohanian3/14/2016

Running a small business is already tough enough without having to tack on the complexity of managing and maintaining collaboration tools. Simple and easy-to-use solutions are often web-based but hosted off-site, creating headaches for companies that have to deal with strict compliance rules or who want control over their own data. Solutions that do allow for user control are often created for larger enterprises and require additional IT personnel to set up. 

Protonet is a company launching out of our current Winter 2016 class that addresses these two problems. As an Iranian-born refugee, co-founder Ali Jelveh saw an increasing trend in the centralization of information by a few corporations, resulting in businesses and consumers losing control of their own data. In fact, he feared that this continuing trend would limit technological advancement while disenfranchising others. Together with his co-founder Christopher Blum, the two software engineers envision a future where cloud technology can be run and owned by anyone.

To do that, Protonet has created a small little orange box that removes all the complexities of having to set up one’s own infrastructure. It provides easy file sharing, project management, and integrated group chat functionality, all hosted on-site with zero setup required. This allows a small business to run its own private cloud without the need for specific IT knowledge or personnel. The only step is to simply unbox the device and connect it to the office internet.

Current on-site solutions start at $7000, not including the cost of hardware, IT support, or additional add-ons. Protonet’s out-of-the-box solution costs anywhere between $1699 to $5199 depending on storage size and hardware configuration. Protonet has already democratized cloud infrastructure for more than 2,000 companies in Germany, and is now launching availability in the United States.

Learn more about Protonet here.


  • Alexis Ohanian