London-based startup 23snaps is a privately curated social network for families designed to save family photos and videos in one digital journal. The app now has more than 500,000 customers in 179 countries and is expanding rapidly.
The phrase 'every picture tells a story' is so evocative and true that it sounds as if something Shakespeare wrote, but its etymology comes from 1900 when it was used in advertising an illustrated life of Christ and it is also apropos to 23snaps' offering.
While not Biblical in tone, 23snaps' idea is to provide a service for families where pictures provide stories to the extent that a whole digital life from the cradle to the grave can be preserved for all generations of families to access.
Naturally, they are taking on some giants here. Facebook seems to be a default and public template for sharing photographs, but its giantism is precisely the problem.
There are many documented cases of these posted photographs on Facebook being used for purposes not intended for them. There is increasing demand for a portal to be able to share pictures and videos in a safe and private environment... and one where kids, parents and grandparents feel comfortable doing so.
For younger people and to a lesser extent their parents, such an environment is literally child's play, but for older people who, despite the hype about Silver Surfers and their high tech skills, find new technology possible.
For those to whom it doesn't come naturally, email is the easiest option, but this is still not the most secure of channels. Educating older people to communicate with their families is not easy and it's easy to quit halfway through setting up an application if it's not intuitive to do so.
The killer app for 23snaps is not only is it easy to set up, the actual continual uploading of pictures and videos across the family mean that its regular use makes it is easy for anybody to understand. Moreover, old pictures and video from memory sticks and old computers gathering dust can be uploaded creating a rounded digital history of a family.
It is also an excellent place to look at old pictures, especially in those nostalgic moments when parents and grandparents what to remember that cherubic and sweet child, and not the present-day's hormonal teenager. Its customers can also arrange to have pictures printed into physical photo albums that can be bought, shared or given as gifts.
"When you are building a small social network just for the family, everyone is an important participant and it is crucial for all to be able to participate, otherwise there is no point starting at all.
"We are taking great care to ensure that everyone is included, whether it is simply via email, via our connected photo frame or even using printed photo books, every family member can share the special moments," said Ivailo Jordanov, CEO 23snaps.
Jordanov's referral to the company's connected photo frame is another cute idea. For around $200, the company also offers a digital photo frame that is connected to a 23snaps account and which automatically uploads every addition to a family's account; an even easier option for more tech-challenged family members who consequently have to do nothing at all.
The company has only been existent since June 2012 and appears to be thinking intelligently about 'out-of-app' revenue streams where its digital product can be linked to physical products such as its digital furniture photo frames.
Every picture may, indeed, tell a story, but with a connected photo frame and a private social network, it not only tells a story, it tells a collection of regular stories that can define a family's existence. 23snaps is a company to watch out for in 2015.