Smartphones with built-in cameras have sparked a wave of hot startups focused on photos, including Path, picplz, and Instagram. But Bubbli, a new startup that’s currently in stealth, has some plans that sound even more ambitious: it wants to use camera phones to create a new kind of photograph. The startup has just closed around $2 million in funding in a round led by August Capital, and it plans to soft launch at TED in the beginning of March (they’ll be presenting on stage).
So what exactly does Bubbli mean when they say they want to reinvent photos? You’ve got me — the startup says it wants to “bring the real world to the flat web”, by capturing places instead of just a rectangular image. It sounds like it could be a sort of panoramic photo, possibly with an augmented reality layer on top, but at this point the company isn’t talking.
Bubbli does have experience with augmented reality — while an intern at Yelp, cofounder Ben Newhouse built the ‘Monocle’ feature that was part of Yelp’s iPhone app, making it the first AR-enabled application to hit the App Store (you point your phone down the street, and Yelp will overlay each venue’s star rating). That feature led to quite a bit of controversy as it was snuck past Apple’s approval process as an Easter Egg, but Apple eventually approved it.
The company’s second cofounder, Terrence McArdle, is a designer from NYC.