October 24, 2012
Burst Releases Bubbles, a New Collaborative Feature

Facebook’s early users posted
photos from drunken frat parties and spring break trips. Now that the social
media site has come of age, images of a toddler’s first steps or a child’s
first soccer goal are increasingly common. But privacy-conscious parents don’t
necessarily want to share family photos or videos with everyone on their
friends list, so three veteran entrepreneurs teamed up to create a mobile platform
that would address this need.

Bryant McBride (CEO), Tracy Deforge &
Paul Levy (co-COOs), founded Burst in April 2011. “As parents, we each have multiple children, and we
realized we needed a solution to capture those fleeting moments and be able to
share them quickly with loved ones,” explains Deforge. “We were about to tap
into this macro trend in smartphones & mobile video and create a solution
for families that were not always looking to share publicly.”

Burst users capture photos or
video using the free iPhone or Android app, and the content is automatically
uploaded to the cloud. “You can create groups of people you want to share with, not
necessarily the whole world, so it’s more quality sharing,” says Levy. Creating
groups for sharing content may sound a little like circles in Google +, but
Levy points out that Burst actually came before Google +. “It just shows that
trend of people moving towards being more concerned about privacy and sharing in
real life,” he adds.

Recipients don’t
need a Burst account to view photos or video, but setting up an account allows
them to view all photos or videos in one place instead of searching through
multiple emails as they might do if the content had been emailed. 

Earlier this month, Burst introduced
a new feature called Bubbles, which allows users to collaborate in real time. For instance, a
family might create a Thanksgiving Bubble. “Extended family in different parts of the country can add
photos or video and it will show up in one place for all of us to share,” says
Levy. “Eventually, the Bubble will burst, which means it ends and people get a
curated highlights reel.”

Deforge adds that
Bubbles could be used for any type of family gathering like a Saturday
afternoon hike or a birthday party. “It’s a way to invite others to instantly
share and have multiple contributors,” she says.

The ten-person
company is located on High Street in Downtown Boston.  Levy says they’re planning to announce media
partners next month. The app is currently free but will eventually operate
under a freemium model. “You’ll get a certain amount of storage and features
for free, plus a printed model where if you want to print out an album, you can
print those out into a keepsake or create video albums that are visually
sharable,” he explains.

Deforge says
they’re also working on improving its video algorithms. “We’re trying to be a
very smart solution for families,” she explains. “Inside of all the video
capture, we want algorithms to take out the manual tasks of writing
descriptions, having a scrapbook or any of those other things that are very
time-consuming for parents.”

Susan Johnston is a journalist and contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow Susan on Twitter (@UrbanMuseWriter) by clicking here.