We all take a ton of photos these days with a quality camera in our pockets or hands at all times in the form of a smartphone. Ever think about how much you actually use those pictures, though?
Maybe you shoot one off to a friend or a group text or post to social media, but then they go into your camera roll or the cloud – often to never be seen again. The whole personal photo space is still evolving. Timehop has done well to resonate with users and the Zuckerberg empire’s Facebook Moments seems to be catching on.
But what if you want to do more with your own photos and create something memorable? That’s where Cambridge-based Sharalike comes in.
Founded by Aymeric Vigneras (CEO) and a Etienne Leroy (CMO, CPO), Sharalike automatically organizes, sorts and selects your best images from a specific moment or event and creates a video montage, or "SmartShow" as the startup calls it, in a matter of seconds.
Take a look at this SmartShow I created from our Success In Mobile event last week.
When I opened Sharalike after the event and hit “New” the app automatically pulled photos from Thursday evening – all related to the event. It then shows a demo of your slideshow and allows you to make edits of your own, if so desired. The user has the ability to swap out or change the order of images, add captions, alter the slideshow style (i.e. flip, slide, zoom, etc.) and even change the music, which you can either pull from their stock tunes or upload your own.
Once created you can easily share on via a text, Twitter, Pintrest, WhatsApp, and post on Facebook.
The latter, Vigneras tells me, was a major addition for his startup.
“We partnered with Facebook this summer, allowing users to post their videos directly into their timeline from Sharalike. Our downloads increased significantly and our engagement went up 10X.”
Those downloads, Vigneras said, are coming in around 100,000 per month and nearing one million total downloads to date. Currently the app is only available on iOS, but Vigneras says Android should roll out in November, which should help the startup surpass that million download mark very quickly.
Vigneras, born and raised in France, came to Boston some six years ago to run US operations as CEO of Cambridge Interactive Development Corporation (CIDC), the development and marketing mind behind Everest Gaming, which is a division of BetClic Everest Group, one of the world leaders in online gaming. Vigneras’ first hire as CEO was Leroy, with whom he’d worked in the past in France.
Then, in summer of 2012, Vignears was on a family vacation in the Cape and had his “ah-ha” moment.
“I told all my family members to send me their photos and I’d create a montage for everyone to enjoy. After struggling with iMovie and other tools I got so frustrated with the process that I never finished it.”
The idea was born. “There had to be a better way,” Vigneras said to himself. With years of technical and startup experience behind him, Vigneras said out to create the solution to his own problem. Once again, his first call was Leroy, who would join as co-founder. Now the duo is joined by two engineers locally and two more overseas.
To date, Sharalike has raised $1.9 million dollars and Vigneras tells me he plans to raise more to speed the startup’s growth. With little money put into marketing, the app has gained significant traffic outside of the US, specifically in Philippines and Mexico, which Vigneras says is actually their top market. All in all, Sharalike has been downloaded in roughly 250 different countries.
To amplify the growth, Vigneras said to expect more improvements to the app, including further automation and simplicity plus additional Facebook-like strategic partnerships.
Well-known Boston entrepreneur, investor and advisor, David Chang is Chairman of Sharalike’s Advisory Board. He shared his thoughts on this consumer tech startup that is showing signs of promise:
“I’ve been so impressed by Aymeric and Etienne. On the consumer side, Sharalike’s mobile app does a great job of intelligently picking the “best” pictures on your phone, and the number of active app users has been growing significantly each month since launch. I think that their ultimate opportunity goes far beyond the mobile app since they have some unique science and algorithms behind the data. Several large players and distribution partners in the wireless space have noticed this, and I think they’re at an inflection point to take off.”
With international traction and downloads nearing the one million mark, it’s exciting to see a social consumer app in Boston showing promise with no signs of slowing down. With more major partnerships on the way, we’ll keep a close eye on Vigneras, Leroy and the Sharalike squad.