Top News

St. John's startup focused on secure online transfer of large files

Austin Aitken, left, and Noah Côté are excited about their new startup company Mdium, which recently launched its beta website for transferring large files securely. — Contributed
Austin Aitken, left, and Noah Côté are excited about their new startup company Mdium, which recently launched its beta website for transferring large files securely. — Contributed

Mdium launched its beta website earlier this month

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

For people sharing large video files with others or transferring them to other devices, it can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance trying to make the process work.

An email might not send because the attachment is too large, and a work-around could compress the file and reduce its quality.

Noah Côté and Austin Aitken believe they have a solution to make these tasks easier to complete, and more secure, and they're excited to see where it takes them.

Mdium is a St. John's startup company that recently launched the beta version of a website where users can upload a file, after which they'll receive a randomly generated seven-digit code. Those seven digits can be shared with someone else to retrieve the file or to use themselves on another device by going back to the website —

All that needs to be done to retrieve the file is to enter the seven-digit code. A message can be included with the uploaded file, and a time limit for retrieval can be set at either 15 minutes or 30 minutes. Once time expires, that file can no longer be retrieved and the data from that file will disappear from the site — Mdium itself only retains analytics data.

"Any files, file names, any kind of personal data is completely erased," said Aitken. "We believe that's a great point about Mdium — there's no commitment and you don't have to worry about that security factor of leaving your stuff up in the cloud."

This is the current user interface for on a mobile device. - Contributed
This is the current user interface for on a mobile device. - Contributed

Cloud drawbacks

Cloud storage of data online has become common and quite popular. Aitken cautioned there can be drawbacks in relying on cloud storage for sharing files, as hackers can attempt to access them.

"With the seven characters, that creates over 78 billion code combinations," he said. "You can't really crack that in 15-to-30 minutes."

Côté and Aitken both believe cloud services tend to focus on storage rather than the ease of sharing files.

"We're focusing on making the easiest, fastest and most secure solution for just, 'I want this on that device, now' ... That's how the name Mdium came to be, because we're the medium between your devices," Aitken explained.

"... we're the medium between your devices." — Austin Aitken

Unlike many options already out there for file sharing, the user does not need an account. There's no limit on the number of files a person can share and no loss of quality.

Côté, a third-year business student at Memorial University, saw there was a need for an alternative to sharing large files during quarantine last year. Given email accounts commonly have trouble with attachments larger than 25 megabytes, sharing videos with friends or work colleagues can prove challenging.

"I went over to Austin, because I knew he was in computer science and knew this field a lot more and asked him if it would be possible to create a way to send or transfer these files, videos or photos directly to someone," Côté said.

I am proud to announce the Official Beta release of as part of my work term with the Memorial Centre of...

Posted by Noah Cote on Friday, January 22, 2021

Best friends

Côté and Aitken have been best friends since about the age of seven and were always keen on doing things together growing up in St. John's. Aitken is a fourth-year computer engineering student and has more tech skills than his pal and business partner.

The project got rolling in August and they worked together alongside fellow Mdium collaborators Jared Butt and Steven Nerhiem to develop the beta version of the site. This is apparently the first time business and engineering co-op students at the school have collaborated on a business venture while still taking classes.

To monetize, the plan is to eventually make the free service ad-supported and create a paid premium version. Members of the Mdium team are still brainstorming on how the paid version of the site might work.

"Right now, we are really focused on growing our user base, getting user feedback and creating a core product that people want and love," Aitken explained.

Mdium just became a part of Memorial University's innovation hub Genesis, allowing the company to move out from the basement of Aitken's parents' home and continue to develop the product. Côté also started a work-term this month at the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship, where he can also dedicate more of his time to Mdium.

They believe the site will be dually useful to the general public and businesses. The site was launched last Thursday and they are already getting useful feedback to act on.

Andrew Robinson is a business reporter in St. John's.

[email protected] | @CBNAndrew


Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories