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Startup YouDazzle combines social collaboration, cloud storage

There are plenty of collaboration software tools on the market, and a growing number of cloud storage options for businesses as well. YouDazzle, a Silicon Valley startup, says it has created a tool that combines the best of both worlds.

The company uses third-party public clouds, hosted by Amazon Web Services and DropBox, to not only store files in a cloud, but allow for multiple users to access them during web meetings.

YouDazzle is not the first social collaboration or storage tool. Box and WebEx offer similar types of features, says Laurie McCabe, an analyst with the SMB Group who tracks social collaboration tools. “They’re the first ones I’ve heard of to put this specific bundle of services together,” she said. But, she added that she doubts YouDazzle will be the last. It’s a natural evolution, she said, for file sharing and collaboration tools to integrate with cloud storage services.

YouDazzle features password protected online “rooms” that store files that can then be shared by a host with invited members to a meeting. The software also supports screen sharing and a discussion feature that allows for real-time conversations during the online meeting. The company’s software is integrated with Dropbox APIs, which allows for documents that are stored in DropBox to be edited in the application and stored back into the cloud.

In addition to the social collaboration and cloud sharing, YouDazzle is introducing what McCabe calls an innovative approach to gaining customers. YouDazzle uses a social selling network in which users receive a commission for reselling the service. If consultants, as the company calls them, recruit other people to sell the product, they get additional commissions. It’s a strategy made famous by Tupperware parties, McCabe says, but it’s the first she’s seen it used in a technology setting.

YouDazzle, which released the product this week, has a free version, allowing one user to host a single meeting. For $20 a month, a user can host an unlimited number of meetings, while for $40 up to three hosts can access the software and for $100 a month up to 10 hosts can start online meetings.

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