PhotoRocket, Led by Amazon and aQuantive Vet Scott Lipsky, Uncloaks its “Not Another Photo Sharing Service”
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even newer services like Instagram already have a considerable head start in the photo-sharing game. And Facebook is already the default central hub for photo storage, curation and sharing for many of the people who would ostensibly use PhotoRocket.
Lipsky and company hope to disrupt this by exploiting the old real estate chestnut: Location, location, location.
PhotoRocket isn’t just a place you go to play with photos. It’s a tool that lives where your photos do. Right-click or hit the PhotoRocket button from a desktop, e-mail inbox, wherever—it’s basically always there.
“There are many little widgets and tools that you can use to put photos in one place or one other place,” Lipsky says. “With PhotoRocket, you can put your photos anywhere. We think that’s a very important point and we think it’s disruptive.”
Roshak also says there can be advantages to coming up from behind. For one thing, PhotoRocket’s relative youth has allowed it to capitalize on new technological building blocks that didn’t exist when some competitors started.
“What we’ve built, you could not have built three years ago,” Roshak says.
Coming on the scene later also provides an opportunity to dodge the biases or hindrances that an established player would have. Instead, a company can focus on solving the problems it sees from scratch, Roshak says.
PhotoRocket plans to make its money in a couple of ways. First, like Photobucket, Flickr and many other services, they’ll charge for prints and other photo-bedecked products.
And while they’re starting out with a free, unlimited-storage version, there are rough plans to introduce a premium service at some point that would charge customers for the ability to access and store their photos at full resolution.
But unlike some other services, Lipsky says PhotoRocket will never put limits on the amount of photos that can be stored or shared for free at a less-than-full resolution, which he described as “print-quality versions.”
Obviously, if PhotoRocket could carve off a nice big chunk of the more than 100 million people that Lipsky says are currently using photo-sharing services in the U.S., he’d also have a site that people would put ads on. But the company remains tight-lipped about further revenue plans.
“We’ll announce them when they happen, but there are others,” Lipsky says.
Video storage or sharing isn’t part of the equation right now, but may be added later. “It’s on our roadmap,” Lipsky says. “We think there’s a huge market in photos, but we’ll be expanding with customer demand.”
In the meantime, PhotoRocket also is expanding its fundraising. The company, headquartered in Pioneer Square, raised $1.3 million last year from what Lipsky says were mostly local sources. Lipsky says the company is raising some debt financing now, and plans to raise an equity financing in the second quarter.