Photo-sharing on an iPhone is usually a social experience, with the ability to upload a photo and put it out there for the world to see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. But for users who want to keep photos private, or only share them with select people, there’s Moshpic, a Los Angeles-based startup that recently released its free iPhone app to help users share photos with friends.
Moshpic gives users a private platform to instantly share groups of photos, or what they call stacks, so that they never have to worry about where a photo might be posted or who sees it. ”We decided to make it this private thing and I think it serves more of a purpose. It’s a great way to share photos with friends. You create these shared photo groups, called stacks, and you can trade photos, and there’s built-in chat where you can comment,” CEO and founder Chris Macho commented in an interview.
Macho said the key feature of the app is their focus on privacy so users can feel completely confident and comfortable sharing photos they wouldn’t prefer to put on their social networks. Similar to how Path is aiming to be an intimate social network for a small group of friends, Moshpic’s hope is to create an intimate photo-sharing experience designed for sharing between family members and close friends.
Users can create stacks by taking photos or adding them from their iPhone photos, share their stacks with their iPhone contacts, decide who they want to access each stack, and sync to save shared photos to their iPhone. The app comes with Camera+ integration to let people take photos using the photo enhancement app, and provides notifications anytime someone shares, syncs or comments on photos.
Competitors include Flock, a photo-album aggregator that relies on Facebook data to pull together photos with friends and family to create a similar intimate photo sharing experience. The photo app on Apple’s new iOS 6 operating system also offers another similar photo-sharing experience, with photo-streaming on iCloud that allows for uploading photos on one device to have them pushed out to all other personal iOS devices, with sharing options so users can share with friends and family if they know their Apple ID. There are also photo-sharing apps like Batch that let people upload groups of photos to Facebook, though it’s more focused on social network sharing, and cloud storage tools like Dropbox that allow people to easily store and share folders of photos.
Macho said he’s fully aware of the stiff competition in the photo-sharing and storage space. “The photo-sharing space is so crowded. The main thing about Moshpic that’s different is that it’s not like most, where most photo sharing apps are basically a different version of taking a photo, uploading it to a server, and figuring out a way to Tweet that photo or Facebook that photo. There are 10,000 ways I can do that,” he said. “This is a way I can create these unique, private and intimate experiences with other people. And our syncing tool makes it so that you can put photos that you think other people should have right on their phone.”
The company is still in the process of figuring out their monetization strategy for the app, preferring instead to focus on building a solid photo-sharing experience and building a strong user base for the time being. With many potential options on the table, including charging for more premium features or storage down the road, they hope to have a strategy rolled out sometime next year.
The Moshpic team is planning to build a desktop companion to the app, with other features in the works. Currently self-funded, Macho and his team are aiming to raise external funding by the end of the year to be able to devote their complete attention and effort to building up the app and enhancing its user experience. While Moshpic needs to figure out its monetization strategy and convince users that it’s a better alternative to existing photo-sharing apps and cloud storage tools, it could prove to be a good alternative to photo-sharing between iPhones now, which is often done via iMessage or text message.