A couple of months after we had our son, my in-laws told us they had a few of my husband’s old things to give us—things like baby clothes, blankets, and other sentimental stuff they’d been storing in the basement for the last few decades. They ended up giving us four giant boxes full of every cut-out heart made into a Mother’s Day card, macaroni necklace, and paper-plate Christmas ornament he had ever made—ever.
Kids’ art wields this bizarre sentimental power over everyone—even when they’re not your kids. My husband made all that stuff 30 years ago, but I still couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. So it’s now in our attic. We’ll hold onto it until our son is an adult, and then when he has his first child, we’ll dump all of that—plus his own childhood artwork—on his ass.
This is a problem. We can’t just keep moving more and more kid artwork from attic to attic. At some point, someone’s ceiling is going to cave in.
That’s the problem that The Kive Company is looking to solve with its flagship product, ArtKive. The app lets users snap photos of their kids’ artwork, tag them, and chronologically store them. The images can then be made into a bound book, so you can have all of your child’s artwork in one neat collection on your coffee table.
“If you add a piece of artwork to ArtKive once a month for a couple of years, you can see a pretty clear progression of your child’s development,” said CEO Jedd Gold, in an interview.
The startup is onto something big. In addition to being named the Cool Mom Tech Pick of the Year and earning the Parents’ Choice Recommended Award, the company also won the People’s Choice Award at Vator Splash SF last week.
Launched in August 2012, ArtKive, which is available in the App Store for $2.99, has seen more than 100,000 downloads, with more than 500,000 pieces of artwork uploaded already. But it’s pretty versatile. Gold tells of one user who documented her whole pregnancy on ArtKive.
But the Amplify portfolio company is keeping mum about its future plans. With a name like The Kive Company and a product called ArtKive, it’s pretty clear that the company plans on expanding to other areas of the sentimentality market.
“We’re focused on the mom demographic. We can provide handful of different services and products that make moms’ lives easier,” said Gold. “It’s very difficult to capture moms’ attention—they’re super busy, and the last thing they want to do is look for apps. We were fortunate with our first product that it resonated really well with moms.”
Indeed, the app is easy to use and doesn’t require a whole lot of technical know-how to work. Archiving your child’s art work is as easy as snapping a picture and tagging it with all the relevant information you’ll want when you look back on it—like age, date, grade, and title. From there, you can share it with a specific circle of people, like grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.
And it’s coming at the perfect time.
“By the end of 2013, 40% of all pics will be taken on mobile phone. But there’s not a good way to organize them. You end up with gazillion photos on your phone. With the sheer volume, it almost devalues the importance of any of them,” said Gold.
But therein lies the challenge. Shutterfly already has a stranglehold on the sentimentality market. How will The Kive Company compete?
“You always see focused, niche experiences that develop big market share because they pick one thing and do it well, and that’s angle we went with,” said Gold. “Some people say ‘oh, you’re Shutterfly,’ some say ‘you’re dropbox for kids art.’ From our perspective we wanted to build a good product that would resonate with moms and get them highly engaged.”
The company has raised $500K in seed funding and it’s already been approached by companies who are interested in licensing the ArtKive brand name for retail products, like art supplies, crafts, activity books, and more. The Kive Company is also about to launch its School Giving Back Program, which allows schools to sign up and get a code, and then when any family enters that code and makes a purchase through ArtKive, 10% of the purchase goes back to the school’s art program.