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FARE INSIEME - Ep. 61 - Cubbit, the first European provider of distributed cloud storage

«We focus on people and technologies to innovate»

16/06/2022

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The story of the Bologna deep-tech start-up that is increasing its market-share, interest and turnover. It deals with distributed cloud and is the only European firm to have developed a proprietary technology in this sector. It was founded by four friends and university colleagues below those Two Towers that have the scent of future in the air. For FARE INSIEME, Giampaolo Colletti interviews Stefano Onofri and Alessandro Cillario from Cubbit

di Giampaolo Colletti
@gpcolletti

And now what? A few days after the much sought after graduation, this was the question that resounded through that university room in which the four friends had spent hours. The answer for them was actually certain. During all those years at university, they had never stopped. Quite the contrary. Passionate about technology and evolved cloud systems, they assembled and disassembled ideas, architectures and processes in their free time. And, while there are those who go on a sabbatical, on holiday or home to mum and dad after graduating, they did not. They decided to rent a flat and roll up their sleeves. Because Cubbit - this is the name of the deep-tech start-up which is now the leading European provider of distributed cloud storage - is a story of perseverance. Marco Moschettini, Stefano Onofri, Alessandro Cillaro and Lorenzo Posani came up with the idea. It was not developed in that iconic garage typical of US culture. Everything took shape in the vacant home of one of the young founders’ uncles. At the time, the group had no money, thus came an intuition: renting a flat in agreement with Marco’s uncle, using it as an office during the day and renting it via Airbnb at night. Any money left would be destined to pay developers, not to go on a seaside holiday. Cubbit was born in 2016 in via San Vitale, along that road that arrives at the Two Towers. Nowadays, the company boasts fifty employees and collaborators who have an average age of 29 and over €10 million collected by partners and global investors such as Barclays, Techstarts, the European Commission and leading Italian investors - the latter joined during the last Series A round that ended in July 2021. A game played on a digital chessboard where computer security is essential. Everything was born from a healthy obsession for the so-called disruptive innovation, i.e. that destined to deconstruct consolidated dynamics. For these four, “it cannot be done” never existed until... it is done. Today, with Cubbit, they are rethinking the architecture on which the cloud is based focusing on distributed solutions for final clients. A journey that led them from Italy to Tel Aviv for a cybersecurity programme. “There are only four companies in the world that work with distributed cloud, three of which are American. We are the fourth, and we are proud of it. This evolution occurred because of a deeper awareness, an ongoing technological maturity process with very fast IT technologies. Those linked to Web3 are at the start of their explosion curve and it is as if we found ourselves in the same situation as what 2007-2008 was for the world of social media,” explains Alessandro Cillario, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Cubbit.

People and distributed technology.
But to understand the story of a hi-tech company, we need to talk about technological and human capital. One is nothing without the other. At Cubbit, the leading European provider of distributed cloud storage, they understood this even before starting. “To us, innovation is not just that of the business model, but also of technological performance. This is why we are part of what are defined as deep-tech businesses: they spend more time on research and development and require considerable investments but, when the solution reaches its maturity, the potential is bigger. We’ve been to Boston and Tel Aviv and have always opted to develop technologies in Italy because we share the mission of developing the eco-system, which is promising as it is made up of talent, with some local deep-tech start-ups,” reports Stefano Onofri, Co-founder and CO-CEO of Cubbit. The headquarters are still in Bologna, in that melting pot of cultures that feeds on the young coming from all parts of the world. But the strength comes from working with a distributed logic, exactly like the technologies developed by Cubbit. “We are everywhere, just like our technology. The people who work from us come from the whole world. The characteristic is that we have diversified skills, also among us founders,” stresses Cillario.  

Winning distributed systems.
 “We are used to seeing the world of Internet services as centralized in data centres, which however have limitations: you need to build and maintain them. However, when you use a distributed technology, you enhance the infrastructure, level the costs and improve safety. And there is also an element linked to sustainability: using this infrastructure, it is possible to partly reduce the energy required to cool the data centre, meaning up to 40 kilograms of Co2 for each terabyte that, each year, can be saved  saved on Cubbit,” says Onofri. Cubbit is also a partner of the European Gaia-X project, the European alliance that cooperates for a safe, open and sovereign use of data. The objective is to guarantee an European digital sovereignty. It is also contributing to the construction of Web3, i.e. the Internet of the future based on the combination between the current centralised technologies and new distributed technologies. Since 2020, the company has distributed its products to over five thousand clients in over 70 countries worldwide and now counts over 45 million protected documents on its own distributed infrastructure. In April 2022, Cubbit announced the Next Generation Cloud Pioneers programme (https://ngc.cubbit.io/) dedicated to the B2B world. This project enables the saving and sharing of data in a safe manner to 50+ Italian companies operating in various sectors: from ICT and manufacture to Public Administration. The future holds the expansion of B2B on a European level. Looking forward, without stopping. After all, this is the winning recipe of contemporary pioneers.

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