London-based Lapse has secured $11 million in funding in a seed round. Reminiscent of the era of disposable film cameras, Lapse lets a close group of friends capture and share photos with a retro-caveat; a 24-hour delay; replicating the days of old when a photo lab was involved in the process. The platform is angling for a more genuine social experience, eschewing the “like” button, and thereby removing societal pressures and user anxieties. The $11 million seed round adds to Lapse's $1.4 million pre-seed round announced just four months prior, and provides the startup a total of $11.4 million.
Despite going live less than a month ago, the startup is posting some impressive numbers; citing over 1 million images captured and shared, with power users clocking some 200 images a week. The app is still residing in the invite-only neighbourhood, as founding brothers Ben and Dan Silvertown, are aiming to carefully craft the user experience, prioritising product development and a controlled growth rate over sheer user numbers.
Building upon the #nofilter approach to photo sharing, the Silvertown brothers brought their offering forward in the hope of helping users visually share their experiences, but without the rigging of the system via a “like” button or societal pressures of numbers, factors often found in "other" public photo-sharing/social networks.
Ben Silvertown explains, “Lapse doesn’t let you review, edit, or curate photos in ways that other platforms encourage. The focus is on enjoying the moment, rather than trying to showcase it. People are taking and sharing photos on Lapse of things they never would have otherwise. By removing the pressure for perfection and the mental barrier when we review photos, a whole new world of more ‘real’ photos gets unlocked.”
And while the app doesn’t allow users to edit their own photos, a retro-styling is automatically applied to imagery via the apps’ proprietary processing engine. This engine was developed and tested with more than 30 professional photographers to emulate the distinctive appearance of film-based photography,
Lapse’s $11 million seed round was led by Octopus Ventures and GV, and saw participation from existing investor Speedinvest, and new angel investor, (ironically) “Like” button inventor Soleio Cuervo.
“Lapse is a next-generation private social network, launched at a time when consumers are fundamentally rethinking their relationship with traditional players. With Lapse, the consumer is no longer the product. This dramatic shift in mentality enables users to communicate freely in private groups, and to provide in-the-moment images of their lives. The product design also means users no longer have the social pressures of portraying themselves a certain way and are instead encouraged to be authentic, which has a profound impact on the way we communicate,” commented Octopus Ventures’ Matt Chandler.
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