With Instagram snapped up, photo-sharing apps to watch

Steven Loeb · April 15, 2012 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/25dd

Photo-sharing apps that are worth keeping an eye on

Earlier this week, Facebook bought photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion, or a hefty $33 per user. What does this mean for other photo-sharing apps? It could mean they're valued a lot higher than they're currently priced. Or it could mean they'll be next in line to be scooped up.  

There are a lot of apps similar to Instagram out there, so we decided to take a snap shot of some worth checking out:

  • Hipster. Raised $1 million in seed funding from angel investors Mitch Kapor, Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures and others in May 2011. Hipster was recently purchased by AOL. The app, which lets users create postcards out of their photos, currently has around 100,000 users. 
  • Path. Launched in November 2010 by former Facebook employee Dave Morin and Napster developed Shawn Fanning. The company initially received $2.5 million in seed funding from Baseline Ventures, Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Betaworks, the Founders Fund, and angel investors like Dustin Moskowitz and actor Ashton Kutcher. In February, the company raised $8.5 million in Series A funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures, Digital Garage Japan and First Round Capital. In December of last year, Path’s userbase jumped from 10,000 users to 300,000 users in two and half weeks and by January it had over two million users. That would seem to make them a legitimate threat to Instagram, but the company has recently found itself in trouble for uploading the contact list of its iPhone users without permission which could hurt its prospects.
  • Tracks Media. Founded in 2010 and based in New York, in December. It received $1 million in seed funding from General Catalyst, TMT Investments, and Eniac Ventures. The main goal of the app is to create an “experience graph.” The user contributes videos and photos to the track that are private to only those that are invited to see it. It helps organize people’s experiences by allowing others to share and contribute to the track. Tracks was also a finalist in Vator's Splash competition last February.
  • EyeEm. A photo sharing app that makes the user put a title and location on the photo, which then helps the users find similar albums and photos that other users have posted. In August 2011, EyeEm received an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Passion Capital, Wellington Partners and Christophe Maire.
  •  WeHeartPics. Founded in September 2011, the app currently only has 10,000 users. It received an Angel investment of an undisclosed amount from IMI and launched its app on iOS deviced in March. 

Instagram has fended off numerous rivals in the past including: 

  • Picplz. Received $5 million in funding from Andreessen-Horowitz in November 2010. Andreessen-Horowitz also gave money to Instagram. Picplz is similar to Instagram in that it allows users to put filters on their photos, and shows users how many people have viewed their pictures. Despite being a competitor to Instagram at the beginning, by the time Instagram had one million users, Picplz had only 200,000 and has never been able to catch up.
  • Color. At one time, it seemed like the Sequoia-backed app, which organizes photos by event and location, was going to be the one to finally take on Instagram. The app raised $41 million in March of 2011, but then didn't take off the way investors had hoped.

The current rivals that Instagram really has to worry about now are websites like Flickr and Photobucket, which have both an app and a website to upload those photos to. Instead of only being able to store them on a mobile device or a social networking website, users have a website dedicated specifically to storing their pictures.

  • Photobucket was launched in 2007 and then first bought by Fox Interactive Media in 2007, then was sold to Ontela, a Seattle based mobile imaging startup. Photobucket currently has over 100 million users.

Instagram is certainly on the rise, but if it wants to challenge the biggest photo sharing websites, and turn its rapidly expanding user base into real revenue, then it is going to have to compete on the next level as well.

(Image source: visualphotos.com)

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Tracks is building the experience graph.  The Tracks mobile and web service that lets users effortlessly make micro-social networks around real world experiences. 'Tracks’ can be geo, temporal or last forever. Make tracks for a family cruise, football season, date nights, pub crawls, a year in college. Each track is a living social network based on thematic experiences in the real world. Tracks are framed around rich media and made over time and across locations. This lightweight concept lets users map fluid real world networks.