Toronto-based cloud photo storage startup MyShoebox today announced a major milestone: the company has already stored and indexed 13.4 million photos from its users, in just its first month of availability, which represents more pictures than are stored in the entire Library of Congress. MyShoebox is also now storing an average of 3,275 photos per user on average, up significantly from the 2,600 it was managing for each user after its first week.
Founder and CEO Steve Cosman took the stage today at Extreme Startups Demo Day, where MyShoebox was among the accelerator’s current cohort. Cosman shared his startup’s impressive early traction, which represents strong performance for a company ostensibly entering a competitive space that includes Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox and other heavy hitters. In fact, it captures 27 times more pictures than Flickr.
MyShoebox offers a cloud photo storage service that goes beyond what most of those other companies provide, however, with a tool that can scan every photo on your computer (or in specific subfolders only), upload those to the cloud and make them available across devices for later viewing, complete with automatic organization options that group photos by location, the type of device they were taken with, dates and more. It also uses a clever implementation of natural language processing for easy search and filtering of your images.
For free, MyShoebox offers access to 1024 max pixel width versions of all your photos from its servers. For a $5 monthly subscription, you can upgrade to a premium plan that allows access to full resolution versions of all pics stored on the service. Users signed up for the service so far are all still on free trials, since the service launched less than 30 days ago, but the payment system for the product went live two days ago, and already the company is starting to see its first revenue roll in from users. While it’s too early yet to talk about conversion rates, Cosman explained why he has high hopes that free users will turn into paying customers.
“The more photos a user has in the system, the more likely they are to convert to our Pro plan,” he said. “MyShoebox was created to unify your photos across all your devices, so our product design aligns to our business. The more places you install MyShoebox, the more value you see and the more likely you are to pay for our Pro option.”
Sometimes, Cosman said, they’re getting 15 photos uploaded per second, and MyShoebox has also recently introduced a referral program similar to Dropbox’s early efforts to grow its user base, which allows users to gain additional one month trials for every user they bring on board that actually uploads photos.
For future plans, Cosman said that on the immediate horizon, the goal is to get an API out the door so that other developers can build on the service.
Our own apps use the same API we plan to expose to third parties,” We’re looking for partners and open source developers for a few key apps to participate in a private beta. The most critical things on our list are an uploader for Linux, an uploader for BlackBerry and plugins for Lightroom and Aperture.”
Early adopters seem to be liking what Cosman and his team are laying down already, and the company is still at a very early stage. Currently, they’re in the process of seeking funding and building backend improvements to help them keep pace with growth. Their success is likely due to the fact that MyShoebox takes a task which users have a growing need for and essentially makes it a background service. It’s sort of like where competitors like Picasa, Dropbox and others should be, but with innovative automatic categorization options that will likely only get better with time and volume.