Palo Alto-based HoneyBook is launching its online wedding albums service into private beta today, offering a way for couples to organize and share all the digital media related to their wedding, including photos, videos, music, and other content. However, the product is only available to professional photographers for now, who will then share the completed albums with their clients.
The company says the decision to target photographers as their go-to-market strategy came about because they wanted to get high-quality content into the service quickly, and wanted to work with a group that understood the industry well. That being said, HoneyBook has already been fielding a lot of requests from brides and couples, so the startup also decided to launch a wait list for the consumer-facing service.
Founded by Oz Eliyahu, Naama Eliyahu, Dror Shimoni, and Tali Saar, the idea for HoneyBook primarily came from the two married founders’ (Oz and Naama) own needs. “They wanted to get all the media that was created at their weddings,” explains Saar. “The photos were with the photographer, a lot of their friends had photos on their phones, videos were uploaded to YouTube, some things were on Facebook – they really found that their wedding was all over the place,” she says. “There was no real place to present it to the world.”
With HoneyBook, the idea is that photographers, and soon, couples themselves, can upload their own content from their wedding, without losing the social experience you would have when sharing on sites like Facebook, for example. Album viewers can like and comment on the entries, and even share their own media through a special “guest uploads” section. In the future, the plan is to integrate with other services ranging from social sites to wedding-specific apps, in order to import content created elsewhere. A mobile companion application, which will also support sharing content and album viewing, is in the works, too.
But all this is on the longer roadmap – for now, the company is just focused on expanding its reach with the professional photography market. It had already signed up 300 testers in private outreach efforts prior to today’s beta launch, and is now looking to grow that install base.
A number of wedding-focused startups have emerged in recent months, including RegistryLove, Appy Couple, Wedit, Lover.ly, WedPics, Wedding Party, WeddingLovely, Weduary, and more (to name a few!), and some of these aim to offer a similar experience to HoneyBook, in terms of providing a digital and/or collaborative online album. However, HoneyBook’s biggest differentiator may be its business model. The company is planning to keep the service free for all, including both the couples and photographers, and instead plans to monetize by becoming a crowdsourced database of wedding vendors.
“Once we have a few thousand or tens of thousands of HoneyBooks, we’re going to transform them into the largest crowdsourced wedding catalog in the world,” explains Saar. “We find that brides are proud and happy to share who their vendors were because they worked so hard on finding the perfect dress, the perfect venue – they’re happy to tell you how they found them and who they are.” The way this will work is that brides will be able to tag who their vendors were inside their photos, and then share these with the service. To be clear, the bride won’t have to make their entire album public – just the photos representative of a particular vendor. So, for example, a shot of the buffet for the caterer, the invitations for the printer, the flowers for the florist, and so on.
And yes, we’re saying “brides” here because HoneyBook is after the so-called Pinterest-using demographic, which skews female.
The company, founded around eight months ago, is now participating in Palo Alto’s UpWest Labs, and is in the process of raising a seed round. Starting today, sign-ups for photographers and couples are available from the company’s homepage here.