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ThisLife raises $2.75M seed round for picture storage

The site automatically organizes your photos and videos with face recognition and GPS tagging

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
June 22, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/27cb

There’s this unavoidable stage of parenthood that everyone has to pass through after they have kids—and that’s the phase where you bomb everyone’s phone and inbox with pictures of your kid.  Some people take longer to grow out of this phase than others, but at some point, you’ll probably look back on that phase and feel like a bit of a tool.  The good news is that if you lose your computer and/or your phone because you have a case of the new-parent stupids, you’ve successfully stored all of those priceless memories on all your friends’ and family members’ phones and computers.

Or you could be proactive now and start storing those photos and videos in a safer spot.  One site, ThisLife.com, was created for that very reason, and it’s backed up with some awesome tech that makes it more than just an online storage unit.  The startup announced Friday that it has raised a $2.75 million seed round led by Madrona Venture Group, with help from Morado Ventures, Rogers Venture Partners, Sujal Patel (Isilon), Brad Jefferson (Animoto) and Brad Garlinghouse (Yahoo, AOL, YouSendIt).

ThisLife, which has been in invite-only beta mode, already has 10,000 users, which isn’t surprising when you consider the fact that the site not only stores your photos and videos in the cloud, but automatically organizes them with face recognition technology and location-based tagging.  For example, you can upload a set of photos from your phone while on vacation and use your phone’s GPS technology to automatically categorize your photos by location.

So let’s say a few years from now, you want to find that picture of your friend Stacy dancing on stage with that White Snake cover band in South Beach.  You can go on ThisLife and look up “Stacy dancing in South Beach” and find the photo you’re looking for out of thousands.

The site also does automatic image enhancement and duplicate detection so that you aren’t saving two or three versions of the same image.

The company operates on a freemium model—users can get a free account, which allows them to store up to 1,000 photos and one hour of video, or they can buy a plan with more storage space, starting at $7.99 a month. 

The paid service costs as much as a Netflix subscription (do people still use Netflix?), so will customers be willing to upgrade?

“We had the same question, but our current conversion rate is more than twice as high as the best-in-class freemium models for subscription services,” co-founder and CEO Andrea Johnson told me.  “We are solving a real problem.  Consumers want to know their memories are secure, organized, and available for them to enjoy.”

The site was created by husband-and-wife team Andrea and Matt Johnson when they were trying to organize photos and videos of their family.  Andrea is the company’s CEO and Matt is the CTO.

Plans range from the free Starter Plan to the Family Plan, which allows users to store up to 50,000 photos and 25 hours of video for $14.99 a month or $149.99 a year.

“We were fortunate to have a lot of interest and chose Madrona as the lead because of the clear fit between our team and theirs and because of they are as passionate about our product as we are,” said Johnson.


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