When your privacy-centric email and calendaring startup is getting multiple namechecks as a safe haven in these dark days of online surveillance, what do you do? You make it easier for people to jump over to your platform, as MyKolab has just done.
MyKolab, the hosted version of the Kolab groupware product, had already come up as an alternative when U.S. surveillance laws took out LavaBit and Silent Mail, but the Swiss outfit’s services got another burst of publicity when Pamela Jones, the patent law expert who just shut down her Groklaw website over email insecurity worries, said she was opening an account.
However, MyKolab is a pretty full-featured product that provides not only webmail, but also calendars, tasks and mobile synchronization features. So on Monday the company said it was launching a “lite” version that features only webmail. Which, after all, is the main reason most users would be looking to join MyKolab – they want a simple, safe alternative to Gmail or Outlook.com.
According to Kolab Systems CEO Georg Greve:
“After Groklaw’s shutdown, the attention for MyKolab was overwhelming. We reacted as fast as we could to meet the demand and to make real email privacy affordable for almost everyone.
“While we are happy to be in a position to help, it is deeply troublesome that our world now seems to require privacy refugee camps for ordinary and distinguished citizens such as Pamela Jones. We believe privacy should be the default, not the exception.”
Of course, security does come at a cost – no Gmail-style scanning of emails for ad-friendly keywords here. So the monthly cost for the mail-only version of MyKolab comes in at $5.41. The full version costs $11.15 a month.
MyKolab has also thrown in an extra benefit for those opting for the full version, though: the premium edition now comes with file storage, with access enabled through the open WebDAV protocol. Greve said the ultimate goal is to turn MyKolab into a “unified solution for your personal communication and collaboration.”
I think we’ll be seeing a lot more European cloud operations stepping up their international customer acquisition efforts, with not being sited in the U.S. as a major selling point. This is a topic we’ll be discussing at our Structure:Europe conference in London from 18-19 September, so see you there.