Recently, ProductionHUB had the opportunity to visit with MASV’s David Horne, VP Marketing & Co-founder as the company gears up for 2017 NAB. He talked about how the company was formed and some of the challenges in moving large files quickly and providing a positive client experience.
Q The company principals come from some interesting backgrounds. How did they meet, and how did the business model start to come together?
A Stéphane Brunet (CEO/CTO) and I, David Horne (VP Marketing), started MASV.io. Steph is a brilliant technical architect that has delivered several world class telecom products, and I’m a passionate digital marketing expert - we hit it off from the start.
We met at a company called LiveQoS, which develops UDP and TCP based technologies for making applications perform faster over the internet. LiveQoS licenses this technology to large OEMs and platform companies, and are now shipping their technology on over 30 million devices a year.
LiveQoS’ network acceleration technology is really what lead us to create MASV.io. While selling LiveQoS’ technology, we learned about video professionals’ workflows for transferring files. To our surprise, many video professionals resorted to couriering hard drives to get their files to partners and clients because they lacked a simple, fast, affordable and software-free solution to delivering massive files. We decided to build just that, and MASV Rush was born.
In the summer of 2016, we got to work on building MASV Rush, a simple fast file transfer web application that only requires a browser. There are no plugins, hardware, apps or any client-side software needed to send large files fast, globally, without compromising on speed.
What makes MASV Rush fast is our global cloud overlay network powered by LiveQoS. It’s a private network that relays files anywhere in the world through the most optimal route. This gives us a serious speed advantage over other solutions that transfer files over the congested internet.
Q PH: Why go with a per GB charge vs a flat fee or subscription? Does this fit for a large customer? Small customer? Both?
A The per GB model came from talking with prospects and beta customers.
At inception, we wanted to provide post production companies with an alternative to shipping hard drives. Most video production companies work on a project basis and couriering hard drives is a quotable cost. We wanted to make it easy for our users to charge costs tied to specific projects back to their customers.
We like the pay-as-you-go model because we believe our product should be good enough that people choose to come back and use it, as opposed to being forced to pay for it because of some contractual arrangement.
For larger companies moving a lot of data, we can further discount our price by allowing them to pre-buy buckets of data. This keeps us out of the contract game but better aligns our price with higher data volume requirements.
Q PH: Any success stories or challenges you can share with us?
A MASV Rush launched on Feb 22nd, and we sure seem to have hit a nerve. There was obviously pent up demand for this type of solution. Since launch we have been signing up hundreds of new users, each day, across more than 70 countries.
The biggest challenge has probably been forecasting regional demand and matching that to our network capacity. The solution was simple, we decided to overprovision our network because we didn’t want even one user to have a subpar experience.
Q Are customers nervous about security issues?
A Our customers are serious about security, so it’s really important to us.
In terms of our infrastructure, we work with trusted companies like IBM and Amazon Web Services. We benefit from all of the tools they make available to protect their systems, as well as things people don’t often think about, but are important, like physical datacenter security and equipment disposal processes. We’ve made sure that we’re dealing with Tier 1 providers.
In addition to our trusted infrastructure providers, the MASV Rush application uses HTTPS to encrypt the data while it’s “in flight.” Encryption in flight makes it very difficult for anyone who has somehow gained the ability to see the traffic (the “man in the middle”) to make any sense of the encrypted data.
We are also committed to adding more security features to our system in the coming months.
Q The release mentioned working with IBM and Amazon. How is that working out so far?
A We’re not competitive with IBM Softlayer or Amazon Web Services as they are our technology partners and infrastructure providers. They are not in the business of impeding good applications running on their infrastructure, otherwise no one would use them. Even where they have products serving the digital media space, MASV Rush tends to address a lower end of the market than their typical offerings. Our system is also very portable, so we are not tied to a single platform should an issue ever arise.
Q So your company is the digital courier. No storage options or would you think about going that route?
A Well said, yes we are the “digital courier” for large files. That’s right, there is no MASV “storage service” today.
We’re in the midst of designing an API for MASV which will allow our system to integrate with our users’ existing storage solutions, media asset management (MAM) systems and editing tools in order to enable accelerated file transfers within their existing workflows.
Our future development really depends on the problems our customers are trying to solve and finding the best ways to solve them.
Q 8K files are huge. No problems moving that much info? What happens when we get to 10k or 12k?
A MASV.io was built on very scalable cloud infrastructure and the Rush application was designed to handle very large files or file sets. We’re all about high resolution, uncompressed raw video. We routinely handle multi-terabyte files.
The constraint here is less likely our infrastructure but rather the size of the user’s internet upload speed. This will dictate whether 8K-12K files can be transported within tight deadlines.
Q Where do you see your company a year or two down the road?
A We want MASV.io to power the M&E industry's file transfer workflows and build a company where our users enjoy working with us.
We’re constantly trying to come up with new innovations for this space. There’s a ton of opportunity given the data explosion we’re seeing with 360 video, VR, AR, 4K and 8K, so it’s a good time to be re-evaluating how and why we do things to find simpler, better solutions.
Q How do you get people who are very protective over the idea that their files are going via the internet?
A I think it’s fair to be very protective, given the value of media assets and the investments behind them. However I’m not sure that avoiding the internet is the only or best answer, just like I don’t think it’s sufficient to place all of your trust in a person (for example, a courier).
Security is all about layers, it’s about the system you put in place. If the system is well designed and well maintained, if security measures are overlapping, it’s more likely to be secure.
Q Anything we missed?
A We believe the right technology can be a differentiator for our customers, helping them to earn more business. We've tried to build a team and a solution that brings real innovation to the space, operating differently than the solutions offered by our incumbents in order to solve important problems.