Most of the start-ups funded worldwide came up with an idea build on top of an existing tool of an over-exploited service for – hopefully – 10% of the market. It’s quite rare to stumble upon a start-up that builds a service so fundamentally basic, which belongs to the core infrastructure of our daily routine but yet somehow has not been revised since it was introduced by Xerox in 1974. I’m talking about Copy-Paste paradigm.
A little bit of history
The term “cut and paste” comes from the traditional practice in manuscript-editing whereby people would literally cut paragraphs from a page with scissors and physically paste them onto another page. This practice remained standard into the 1980s. Stationery stores formerly sold “editing scissors” with blades long enough to cut an 8½”-wide page. The advent of photocopiers made the practice easier and more flexible.
[…] Apple Computer widely popularized the computer-based cut/copy-and-paste paradigm through the Lisa (1983) and Macintosh (1984) operating systems and applications. Apple mapped the functionalities to key combinations consisting of the Command key (a special modifier key) held down while typing the letters X (for cut), C (for copy), and V (for paste), choosing a handful of keyboard sequences to control basic editing operations.
By now we all know that, we use it several times a day and we cannot imagine working on computers without it. It’s a standard. It is a given. But all that is true on the same machine.
Many times I get frustrated when I work on my computer but I have to check out some resources or data on my phone and I have to use my brain to copy-paste some information. I have to memorize, for instance, nasty URLs that I saved in a note on the phone and write them – character by character – into my computer. It’s painful, really. And god-forbid you mess up one character. You have to carefully find which one and eventually give up and start all over again.
I met Alexandru in June 2014, in Krakow, at the Deutsche Telekom’s turbo-accelerator hub:raum program. He was one of the alumni of their 2013 co-hort and was there to give a speech to the newly start-ups. I was one of the newcomers.
Omnipaste is the name of the start-up he co-founded and fortunately received funding from T-Venture, the VC of Deutsche Telekom.
He was very friendly and quickly told me and my co-founder some great tips about what was going on over there. He was always smiling and found the time for us even if at some point I felt we were too annoying. I later found out what a genuinely good heart he has.
He was still working at their product at that time and I remember him coding at a desk in the workspace, having conf-calls with his team mates, leaving for a day to present in Berlin, to attract future funding. All these with a calm and confidence that strongly contrasted the atmosphere around there. I figured that this is part of his heritage, since Alex is originally from Valcea but has been living in Sibiu (Romania) for some years now. If you were a Romanian you’d know what I’m referring to.
Back to business
So what is this great product that I keep putting off explaining? I asked Alex if he wants to explain it in his own words and he was kind enough to answer a few questions:
InRumor: What’s the idea behind Omnipaste?
Alexandru: Your Android™ Phone, Tablet and Windows™ PC/Laptop connected like never before. Omnipaste allows you to share a clipboard across all your Windows™ and Android™ devices. With Omnipaste, you can easily move from one device to another without the need to send yourself emails. People also refer to us now as continuity for Android and Windows in the light of the soon to be released IOs8.
InRumor: How did you come up with the idea?
Alexandru: I used to send a lot of email to myself and got frustrated by this fact. I thought there must be a better way to pass information between my devices and this is how Omnipaste came to be initially an easy way to copy and paste between devices – as easy as Ctrl+C and hold+paste. We don’t only move text and links we also move events. If you receive a call on your phone you will see a notification pop-up on your laptop (https://www.omnipasteapp.com/#feature-notifications)
InRumor: Is there something similar on the market? Is there anyone else working on this?
Alexandru: There’s always something similar on the market. There are couple of applications out there that are trying to solve this gap of communication. The problem is that they are limited to either platform or content. You can have a lot of apps that make a ‘magic’ folder on your computer, or synchronize your notes. With Omnipaste the integration is at a deeper level, it’s as though your devices are aware of each other and their capabilities and do their best to help you in your day to day work. You can start something on your laptop (copy the address of a restaurant) and then tap to navigate on your phone (https://www.omnipasteapp.com/#feature-smart-action).
The biggest player in the market will be Apple with their latest operating systems. Unlike them, Omnipaste, will offer all the functionality platform independent. To prove this we’ve released on two platforms, Windows and Android.
InRumor: What’s your competitive advantage?
Alexandru: First we want this to be cross platform so at the heart of our solution, there’s a device API. Because this is a public API it allows other apps to take full advantage of all the devices that your own. To see how this might work, after you’ve installed Omnipaste on your phone, go from your desktop pc to https://www.omnipasteapp.com/#contact and click on our phone numbers. Your phone will simply start calling us. No more typing a phone number from your computer screen.
Next, we went right from the start with developing native applications for each of the supported platforms. This was very important because it allows better integration with the host operating systems, for example, we can display missed calls and SMSs on your Windows lock screen.
Besides this, we built all the messaging services ourselves. Even though this took some time, we are on schedule and now it allows us to better scale the service and maintain it free for the users.
In the end, but maybe the most important, this is a product that we built to solve some of our own pains. Asking around we saw that it also helps other people.
InRumor: When will you launch the product?
Alexandru: You can go to www.omnipasteapp.com and download the app for Windows™ and Android™ right now.
InRumor: Will it be cross-platform?
Alexandru: Yes, for example you will be able to copy a YouTube link from your phone or laptop, and paste it on your smart TV. Not to mention, the useful notifications will also be displayed on the big screen.
InRumor: What are the next steps?
Alexandru: Refine the existing features, support more platforms and bring our user new useful functionality. Anyone can contribute with ideas or vote on existing ones here https://omnipasteapp.uservoice.com/.
I remember the first time he told me about this product and I was blown away. Not only because I need it – badly – but also because it is so simple and basic yet smart and beautifully crafted. As I said, it’s rare you get to come up with such a great idea, let alone to build it and make other people’s daily work much easier.