You may remember Evergram as the company whose co-founder, Duncan Seay, pitched the media in a wedding dress in the Startup Alley at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt SF. The dress may have brought him attention, but the gimmick wasn’t necessary – Evergram can stand on its own as a startup worth noting. The first product from the service was a way for wedding guests, friends, and family to leave messages to newly married couples, sharing their personal memories, words of wisdom, and best wishes through text, photos, and videos aggregated in a shared digital album.
Today, the startup, which is building a “future messaging” platform, is rolling out albums for occasions like birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, retirements, showers, social causes, congratulations, family gatherings, and living memorials. That last item – living memorials – is actually what inspired the service, Seay tells us.
A serial entrepreneur, Seay was diagnosed with cancer in late 2010, and began to think about the various things people would want to share with their children, friends, family and loved ones. “When you’ve got an 11-year-old who really doesn’t want to listen to his father – who doesn’t feel like his father has very much in the way of ‘school of wisdom’ to offer him, you start envisioning how ‘wouldn’t it be great to send YouTube-like video clips to your kids to be delivered in the future?'” he says. Fortunately, Seay’s cancer is currently in remission, and the idea sparked by his experience is now living on as Evergram.
Evergram organizes digital content into an attractive online album which the recipients can view at any time. In addition, that shared content can be made public to the gr0up or private, so only the recipients can view the shared items, which offers a level of privacy that a quick Facebook post does not.
More importantly, explains Seay, sharing content knowing it will be viewed at a later date as well as many more times in the future, changes the nature of what’s being shared. “Much of the content [on today's social networks] is really around narcissistic behavior,” he says. “By time-shifting content in the creation and delivery process, the content becomes meaningful to the recipient, and therefore has value that can be monetized.” Seay says that the eventual business model will be freemium, where the album givers will make micro-payments, which combined, will pay for the end product – the digital album.
During the beta, though, Evergram is free for everyone. Interested users can sign up online or download the iOS application from the iTunes App Store to try the service now.
Co-founded with Jeff Saden, Seay’s longtime partner on his entrepreneurial ventures, Evergram has approximately $1 million in seed funding in a round led by Syncom Venture Partners, with participation from angels including Chris Kelly, formerly of Facebook; Andy England former VP of Marketing at OpenTable, now at MillerCoors; Magna Global CEO Tim Spengler; and others. The company is in the process of raising a larger round now.