Can Picwing be a Flickr or Photobucket?

Bambi Francisco Roizen · August 31, 2009 · Short URL:

Vator Box and Javeline Venture Partners Noah Doyle take a look at the young photo-printing service

During Noah Doyle's recent vacation, his wife lost about 4,000 pictures she had created a photo album on one of the leading photo-sharing sites and lost their photos. To this end, there's a lot of room for innovation in the crowded, yet promising photo-sharing space. In this Vator Box, Noah, managing partner at venture firm Javelin Venture Partners, helps us analyze Picwing, a young company whose goal is to become the easiest way to print photos online. 

Noah joined me and Ezra Roizen (digital media investment banker and Vator Box regular). As Noah is a VC seeking to place around $250,000 to $2 million in early-stage ventures, we also ask Noah at the end of the segment whether he'd invest in Picwing.

You'll have to watch the show to see what he says. But here are a few observations. 

- Edward Kim's pitch is very clear.

- This business needs significant scale. One way to get massive distribution, like Flickr did, is to create a self-propelling engine. Photo sites do a great job at creating viral content. Do things to have the product itself reach the people in the photos to get more people to consume the product. 

- Find a great distribution platform, much like Photobucket did with MySpace, which paved a way for an exit. 

- Being a feature (printing photos) in a supply-chain play can be a tough proposition, unless Picwing owns the printing process and innovates around this particular problem only. If they execute on the product and their promise, then they will be able to partner with incumbents, Shutterfly, Snapfish or Kodak. But the printing has to have a price advantage and convenience advantage. It has to become Netflix simple. 

- It may be difficult to build a brand around such a narrow value proposition. To be a stand-alone company, Picwing will have to be more than just printing.

- Seek partnership with companies that can add new value to customers. For instance, Occipital allows consumers to match photos. Or partner with travel sites, like Travelocity, so printing can be an added service that Picwing can provide.

- Look to print-related sites, such as Lulu, Blurb and CafePress, which have worked out issues involved in taking stuff from the Web and printing.

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Picwing is the world's easiest way to print photos online.

Email your photos to Picwing, and you're done: The photos automatically get printed and sent to your friends and family on your distribution list. 



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Occipital, LLC is a technology startup focused on mobile visual search, founded by University of Michigan alumni Jeffrey Powers and Vikas Reddy

Occipital was funded by seed-stage incubator TechStars in 2008, and is based in Boulder, Colorado.


Edward Kim

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