Canditto—A Wedding Crasher That Shares The Love
Four years ago, Rush Hambleton and his wife left their wedding reception on a restored 1962 Vespa motor scooter. The professional photographer missed it. But luckily, an aunt just happened to catch the shot on her digital camera, and eventually sent the couple a print. The Vespa image, Hambleton says, was “the” shot of the wedding. Soon after, Hambleton watched as guests exited a friend’s wedding reception, one after another. Every wrist had a digital camera dangling from it.
“I thought to myself, ‘How many Vespa shots are going out the door?’ ” Hambleton told me. “‘How many shots won’t make it back to this bride and groom?'”
Hambleton, who was studying entrepreneurship at the Franklin W. Olin school of business at Babson College, wasn’t going to just leave it at that. While he was still working on his MBA, Hambleton founded Canditto, a Cambridge-based service that rents out photo-sharing kiosks. Guests insert the memory card from their digital camera, and the kiosk downloads their pictures onto a USB flash drive. The kiosk’s software only downloads pictures taken in the last 8 hours. Additionally, the kiosk recognizes if a card was inserted earlier in the party, and will only download new pictures. It’s simple enough for even the most technologically-challenged (or inebriated) relatives to use.
The original model was cobbled together by Hambleton from an Ikea cabinet, a flatscreen monitor, and a laptop computer. He enlisted an engineering student at Olin College to write the software code by pasting up flyers around campus. Canditto’s earliest customers had their kiosk delivered by Hambleton, who wrestled it into the trunk of his car for treks around New England to weddings, reunions, bar mitzvahs, and even a summer camp in Vermont. Since the summer of 2008, Canditto has benefited from a write-up in the New York Times, seed funding from angel investors, and $30,000 from the Babson Entrepreneurial Competition. Hambleton’s kiosk has attended 26 events so far.
This month, Hambleton is releasing the new Canditto— a sleek plastic affair about the size of a basketball that resembles a fashionably dented white melon. Hambleton and his business partner spent hours looking at perfume bottles at Crate & Barrel before dreaming up the new design. The kiosk will cost $450 to rent for a week, “enough for the rehearsal, wedding, reception, and Sunday brunch,” says Hambleton. The price also includes round-trip Fed-Ex shipping.
Canditto doesn’t necessarily have to replace the professional photographer, says Hambleton, since the price is roughly equivalent to only an hour or two of a photographer’s fees. And sharing everyone’s photos means that all the Vespa shots can be captured for posterity. “While the friends of the bride and groom run outside to decorate the couple’s car, the grandmother is inside dancing with her grandson. So much is happening at the same time. This lets you get those photos you otherwise wouldn’t get.”