Where companies connect.
|Jesse Lipson (VP & GM, Data Sharing)|
Number of employees
ShareFile is a secured large file sharing and storage system. The SaaS software allows businesses to create a custom-branded, password-protected area where large documents and files can be stored, synced and exchanged with clients in the cloud. ShareFile's centralized cloud storage capabilities let users send, receive and share data across device types and access them from anywhere, including desktop widgets and electronic apps. It is a subsidiary of Citrix Systems.
Jesse Lipson built and launched ShareFile in November 2005. After graduating magna cum laude from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, he taught himself how to code. His first entrepreneurial venture was a website design and development company that provided services projects for clients.
Lipson created ShareFile because several of his website design clients asked him to build a password-protected area where they could set up folders and exchange business files with their clients. As Lipson recalled, “I think we sensed that traditional file transfer protocol (FTP) methods were becoming a little outdated as web applications started to proliferate on the Internet. We saw an opportunity there. I don’t think we understood it would get as big as it actually has become, especially with the launch of the iPad over the past couple of years, but we definitely saw that there was room in the market for additional players.”
Launching ShareFile without any funding, and basing his work in Raleigh, North Carolina, Lipson focused on acquiring only business customers. By 2007, ShareFile had established a solid user base of over 150,000 users and received praise from Internet review sites for its ease of use and security.
In 2009 ShareFile passed the 1,000,000 user milestone.
By 2011, Lipson had grown the company from zero to 4 million users. ShareFile has grown organically with no outside capital and corporate customers spread across more than 100 countries around the world.
In September 2010 ShareFile was ranked No. 104 on the 2010 Inc. 500 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies. The company was listed again in 2011 when the magazine ranked ShareFile No. 241 on its 30th annual Inc. 500.
According to ShareFile, the service had over 17 million users as of October 2014. Of these, at least 50,000 were paid corporate customers.
Acquisition by Citrix Systems
In October 2011 ShareFile was acquired by Citrix Systems for $54.5 million in cash, plus 180,697 shares of stock and 390,775 shares of stock options. Total value from cash and stock was $93 million. Under terms of the agreement, ShareFile continued to offer its software as a standalone service, while its software became integrated into Citrix's products. Lipson switched from being CEO and majority owner of ShareFile to vice president and general manager of a new data sharing division within Citrix under the deal. ShareFile’s employees remained based in Raleigh.
After the acquisition, in May 2012 Citrix announced the availability of ShareFile with StorageZones, which provides IT departments with the ability to choose where corporate data is stored, including on premise within their own secure data centers. This allows companies to host the files themselves that they do not want stored in the cloud, in some cases due to regulatory concerns. In October 2012, Citrix announced new StorageZone Connectors for ShareFile that allow customers to securely connect a ShareFile StorageZone instance to data in existing network storage systems.
On July 30, 2012, Citrix announced construction of a new office in Raleigh to serve as the new home for Raleigh-based employees, including many who work for ShareFile and the Citrix Data Sharing Division. A month earlier, the City of Raleigh awarded Citrix a 12-year economic development incentive grant whereby Citrix promised to create 339 permanent, full-time jobs by 2016. Citrix received a Job Development Investment Grant from the state of North Carolina under the same terms.
Lipson said in April 2013 that “When Citrix acquired ShareFile, we had about 80 employees here in the Triangle. Less than 18 months later, we already have over 250 employees in the Raleigh office ... With our office development in downtown, we are aiming to add well over 300 additional jobs over the next 5 years and we’re well on our way to that goal already.”
On Oct. 9, 2014, Citrix and ShareFile employees hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new 171,000-square-foot offices at the intersection of West and Hargett streets in Raleigh. Gov. Pat McCrory and Mayor Nancy McFarlane addressed attendees along with Citrix executives. By this time, Citrix and ShareFile already surpassed their five-year goal of adding 339 new jobs and employed 600 workers as it continued to hire. The facility ultimately can handle approximately 1,500 workers.
In September 2012, ShareFile updated its iPhone app with features aimed at appealing to corporate IT, including the ability to audit all content accessed from a device that has been lost or stolen.
In response to updated regulations with HIPAA standards, Citrix created the ShareFile Cloud For Health Care in 2013. A private virtual cloud, it was designed specifically to help companies stay compliant with updated HIPAA standards. It runs on the AWS Cloud, but sets aside specific virtual servers to host Protected Health Information (PHI).
Also by 2013, ShareFile offered Archiving for Financial Services to help financial services organizations comply with data archiving regulations under SEC and FINRA rules. The archiving feature indexes, audits, and makes records of client communications searchable for a designated period of time. Account files, folders, sent messages, active and inactive links, and notifications are archived rather than deleted when no longer needed.
In March 2013, the ShareFile mobile app added richer content editing capabilities for Microsoft Office documents and Adobe PDFs on iPhones and iPads, even when offline. Citrix also updated security for the ShareFile app with the option for IT to restrict use of third-party editors that employees might try to install. IT managers can further manage corporate content on ShareFile thanks to remote wipe, encryption, passcode lock and poison pill features.
In May 2013, ShareFile expanded its service by allowing enterprises to choose between storing user data in their own data centers; in data centers managed by Citrix; or using existing file storage systems via StorageZone Connectors. The company added integration with Microsoft’s SharePoint and the ability to manage data on behalf of its customers using Microsoft Azure. Previously, ShareFile had only used Amazon's cloud.
In September 2013, ShareFile completed an integration with RightSignature to provide ShareFile customers the ability to obtain e-signatures on documents stored in ShareFile.
On May 2014, ShareFile released a new version of its mobile app that had been redesigned for IOS 7 and added a mobile editing tool.
ShareFile also offer a virtual data room or VDR, which allows customers to hire a virtual data center setup for its company. This allows greater independence of activities, and is supported with SSAE16 and SAS70 Type-II security, a dedicated account manager to manage the VDR, power widgets, deep analytic tools and many others.
In May 2014, ShareFile released a new version of its mobile app that had been redesigned for IOS 7 and added a mobile editing tool. That same month, ShareFile announced plans to offer metadata encryption to minimize the risk of data leaks in the enterprise. Both that and the new mobile app version were the result of Citrix’s acquisition of Byte Squared in 2013.
Also in May 2014, Citrix unveiled the ShareFile Personal Cloud Connectors, which tie ShareFile to popular cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive in order to consolidate data to a central point where it can be more easily managed and secured. IT can enable the ShareFile Personal Cloud Connectors for a defined period of time to provide users an opportunity to seamlessly move data from their personal cloud accounts into ShareFile. When ShareFile Personal Cloud Connectors are enabled, users can access data stored in their personal cloud account, while still retaining the benefits of ShareFile. Files from those third-party storage platforms can be opened, edited, and annotated from within ShareFile. This feature allows customers to stop having to migrate their entire system to a different product.
In July 2014, GetApp.com of Barcelona, Spain, announced plans to integrate with ShareFile to improve workflow for users of online accounting software and project-management apps. This integration would allow contractors that use QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks, Zero and Basecamp to store and retrieve files directly from ShareFile. This feature has not yet been developed.
Business sectors served by ShareFile include:
- Real Estate
Lipson oversees ShareFile while maintaining his title of vice president and general manager of data sharing at Citrix. He earned a 40 Under 40 award from Triangle Business Journal in 2013 for his professional and civic accomplishments under the age of 40.
In 2008 ShareFile won CNET's Webware100 in the category of Utility/Storage; there were more than 1.9 million votes for the 2008 awards.
In September 2010 ShareFile was ranked Number 104 on the 2010 Inc. 500 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies. The company was listed again in 2011 when the magazine ranked ShareFile Number 241 on its 30th annual Inc. 500.
For the 2012 Best in Biz Awards chosen by press and industry analysts, ShareFile received the Gold Enterprise Product of the Year award. Also in 2012, SiliconANGLE named ShareFile the iPad business app of the week.
A year after acquiring ShareFile, Citrix was named the top business among the Best Places to Work in the Triangle for 2012 among large companies. It finished No. 3 in the same category in 2013.
The 2013 Tabby Awards/Business announced ShareFile as the winner for the Best Data Access and Collection App. The 2014 Tabby Award/Business named the Citrix ShareFile app as a finalist in the iPad – data access and collection category.
The Cloud Awards 2013-14 named ShareFile as the “Best in Mobile” Cloud Solution.
Also in 2014, the K2 Quality Awards named ShareFile the Best Cloud Portal for accountants. ShareFile made the Constructech 50 listing of the most influential construction-technology companies, and Constructech named ShareFile a bronze Vision Award winner for its work for construction companies.
In December 2014, a survey of Citrix clients by Tech Validate revealed that 67 percent of respondents find ShareFile’s tracking and notifications features to be most valuable to their businesses. They rated file size, security and ease of use as their main reasons for choosing ShareFile.
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