CareZone Aims to Be the Keeper of Your Family's Secrets
A new start-up wants to become the keeper of some of your family's most private information, from medical records to intimate details about your children. It's called CareZone, and it's creating a super private cloud designed to help families easily share important information with loved ones and caretakers who need it.
The company was founded in 2010 by Jonathan Schwartz. He's a familiar name to the business world as he was the CEO of Fortune 100 company Sun Microsystems and oversaw its sale to Oracle in 2010 for $7.4 billion.
With CareZone, the mission is simple: Help moms and families organize private information. The website and mobile app (available on Apple's App Store and Android's Google Play) gives users a secure online space to store and share information privately, like emergency contact numbers, Social Security numbers, important insurance documents, doctor's appointments, directions on administering medications to loved ones, etc.
The company also offers productivity tools such as journaling, to-do lists, calendars, data storage and broadcast—a feature that enables users to record and send messages in real time to up 100 contacts simultaneously.
Carezone "is totally private and secure, but you can also share it with family members, like your spouse and siblings, or with helpers like babysitters. You're totally in charge," Schwartz said.
One hurdle is getting people to trust CareZone's security. With news of large companies getting hacked, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo to name a few, people may be cautious about putting personal information in the cloud. However, Schwartz said, "At the end of the day, the planet banks online at this point, the planet communicates online. Hospitals are online. So there is a level of trust that you have to assume you're going to be able to establish with people you're trying to sell to."
Currently, all of its services are free. Starting in 2014, the company plans to roll out enhanced features for a fee. "We're entirely focused on audience building at this point—getting every mom/family/parent on Earth to discover and use us," Schwartz told CNBC.
And since there is no advertising on the site, users don't have to worry about being bombarded by unwanted ads or their information being sold to third parties.
"We're not going to be data mining," Schwartz said. "We're not going to be open to selling the information that you're storing with us ... because at the end of the day our customers are our users, and that parallelism gives I think a level of security and comfort to our users."
The potential market for CareZone is huge. In the U.S. alone, more than 300,000 babies are born every month, and nearly 66 million or 29 percent of the adult U.S, population care for someone sick, disabled or aged.
With such a huge market opportunity, CareZone faces lots of competition. Companies like AboutOne, Cozi and MotherKnows are just a few to offer similar services. But Schwartz said he isn't worried. "We're free. ...Families never have to worry about being stuck with a $5 a month charge to access their own data, or fear hitting a limit on how much data they can enter, or how many people they want to share with. [And] we're ad free."
Schwartz would not disclose the number of CareZone users but said they are in over 80 countries and he's happy with the growth. Since 2010 the company has raised $13 million dollars with investments from himself, New Enterprise Associates and Catamount Ventures.
By CNBC's Erin Barry and Joanna Weinstein