Montreal-based startup PasswordBox is announcing their limited sign up today just as it surpassed Gmail for top free productivity app in the iTunes store. The company is offering a free lifetime membership to the first million people who join the wait list.
“Say goodbye to multiple user names and passwords that are impossible to remember,” read a release. “The product is the most comprehensive and effective password manager available to consumers.”
Simply put, losing one’s username or password sucks. PasswordBox is about to put those pain points to rest with its application, which will be available as an iPhone, iPad or Android app, as well as for Mac or Windows users.
The angel-backed company’s official launch isn’t expected until June 25th iin San Francisco.
Founder and CEO Dan Robichaud explained that the app lists all of the user’s account user names and passwords via one-click login though a master password. New accounts added to PasswordBox are automatically given 26-character unique strong passwords. All stored information is locally encrypted and decrypted using the same secure algorithm that the US government uses. “So we make something really complex, really easy,” said Robichaud.
It’s a good thing, especially given some of the fear-inducing statistics around account hacking. According to Microsoft research, over 2.4 billion people carry an average of 25 online accounts, but other studies indicate that over 50 percent of people are using the same username and password for every account. It’s estimated that 90 percent of the usernames and passwords people create are easily hackable.
Meanwhile, said Robichaud, a study revealed that 40 percent of people think it’s going to be easier to solve world peace than to remember all their passwords. How optimistic.
While some competitors charge $50 just to download their software, PasswordBox is adopting a freemium model. After a user’s first 25 accounts it will cost $1 per month, unless that user refers other people.
Other advantages include PasswordBox’s unique password sharing and legacy features. Team leads can share their passwords with coworkers, while the app’s legacy sharing feature will trigger the release of a user’s information to a trusted third party in case of death or emergency.
That was what motivated Robichaud to built the prototype in the first place, after he visited his mother in 2011 while she was gathering old family photos to upload to her computer. Unfortunately she was involved in a small car accident while Robichaud was visiting. “And it made me think, ‘what would happen to my digital files if something were to ever happen to me?’”
Eventually, enabling people to easily transfer their digital lives became but one feature of what would become PasswordBox. “We actually found that the password problem was a bigger one,” said Robichaud.
PasswordBox users cannot reset their master password but they can delete their account in case of possible fraud. Soon this might not be necessary though, as in late July the company plans to incorporate push notifications to users’ phones. The end of the fall should see the launch of fingerprint reading. “So even if you lose your master password you’ll be able to authenticate it,” said Robichaud.
PasswordBox is Robichaud’s sixth business. The serial entrepreneur sold his first company, Generation Flash, in 2006. He went on to exit his next four businesses before PasswordBox and also serves as a limited partner in two VC funds. Before his entrepreneurial days Robichaud was a radio show host where he pioneered RSS audio podcasting.