• WisBusiness

Fasetto a big hit at 2016 CES
1/27/2016

Superior-based Fasetto has come a long way since an older version of its product got called “the ugliest wearable” at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Just look at the latest reviews from this month’s 2016 CES show, where Fasetto was determined to return with a revamped product. VentureBeat called the updated Link product “pretty incredible,” while PC Perspective said it might’ve been the “most groundbreaking storage product” at the show. And ZDNet called Fasetto a “small company with a big idea.”

The big idea for its Link product, expected to launch this fall, is to replace the SD cards that cameras store photos and videos on -- and being able to stream those files on multiple devices.

A typical user, for example, could easily share a video they took and stream it on their iPad or smart TV. Professional photographers could have all of their photos automatically sent to the tiny Link box as they’re taken, and they’d be able to instantly pull up those photos on any device to edit files. That removes the hassle of using SD card readers, hooking up cables to a computer or having to worry about whether files are compatible on different devices.

“We’ve eliminated that,” co-founder and CEO Coy Christmas said. “The information is stored online and is accessible on everything.”

Link, which is about the size of a GoPro camera, will cost from $349 for 256 GB of storage to $1,449 for 2 terabytes. It’s also touted as durable, even being waterproof up to 45 feet. It can connect with up to 20 devices at once and can stream files on up to seven devices at once.

The new version of Link marks a significant shift from what Fasetto originally envisioned: a product that users can wear on their wrists. That product was barely ready for the 2015 CES show and didn’t come out looking like the computer projected, Christmas said, hence the “ugliest” designation from PC World, which did, however, credit the product’s functionality.

“We knew coming into the [2015] show it wasn’t exactly how we wanted it, but we had to work with what we had,” Christmas said. “We wanted to turn a negative into a positive.”

Christmas, then, got critical feedback from people in and outside the show, which helped him decide the new Link box was “definitely the direction we needed to go.” Instead of a wearable, the box can be dropped into a user’s pocket or backpack or even clipped onto their belt.

The updated product helped make this year’s CES show “absolutely amazing,” Christmas said, noting he’s gotten requests from several companies on how they can use Fasetto’s products.

“This was our company’s second time [at CES],” Christmas said. “Last year, we did it and we were at the freshman level. This year, we graduated to JV. Next year, we’ll be at varsity.”

Already, Fasetto offers a free service that’s a central hub for users’ photos, music, videos and files. That service launched about two years ago and has more than a million users through simply word of mouth, Christmas said.

Link buyers will have the option to back everything up onto Fasetto’s existing cloud storage service. The service’s messaging functionality makes it like “Dropbox plus WhatsApp on steroids,” Christmas said.

Christmas, who moved to Superior in 2008 so his wife could live close to her family, said he loves the area. It does present some challenges, he said, as he’s competing for programmers with Google, Apple and other tech giants. Fasetto currently has 11 employees.

But the significantly smaller location also lets him get more support from people who aren’t as busy as, say, a Silicon Valley investor. The $7 million Fasetto has raised so far since launching in 2013 has all come from Wisconsin investors, and the company is also part of WEDC’s Qualified New Business Venture program.

“I don’t foresee moving the company anywhere else,” Christmas said. “I don’t feel that we need to.”

-- By Polo Rocha,
WisBusiness.com

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