Photo editing focused company Aviary has had the best six months ever in the tech space, snatching partnership deals with companies like Yahoo! and Flickr and most recently Twitter. What is becoming apparent is that there is an absolute need for a solid photo editing experience in many apps, and Aviary’s tools are there to serve the need. That’s a really good place to be in. It’s much more than just “filters.”
Today, Photobucket announced a partnership with Aviary to bring those tools to its users, which have uploaded over 10 billion photos. If you remember, Photobucket is the company that parted ways with Twitter as it set out to do its own photo service along with Aviary. Additionally, Aviary announced a new CEO in late December, Tobias Peggs, and the company doesn’t seem to be missing a beat. It says it currently has over 2,500 partners, 25 million-plus monthly users and 2 billion edited photos.
In a blog post, this is how Aviary described the partnership with Photobucket, as far as which tools it would be integrating:
Photobucket turned to Aviary to provide robust and consistent cross-platform photo editing capabilities for its users. We carefully design our SDKs to be native to each platform we offer — iOS, Android, Windows Phone, HTML5 — so the product is strong, the deployment is simple, and users get a seamless and intuitive photo editing experience no matter where they are. Today, you’ll find Aviary on Photobucket’s website, and soon, on its iOS and Android apps.
Its previous CEO, Avi Muchnick, told me in December that the company is trying very hard to “democratize creativity.”
Aviary’s new CEO sat down with us to speak about how the transition is going and how the Photobucket deal came about:
TC: How have you settled into your new role, was the transition pretty seamless?
Tobias Peggs: The transition seems to have gone very well.
I’ve known co-founders Avi and Iz for a while, and we’ve always enjoyed thinking through business issues or product problems together – so that helps a lot. Plus they had put a fantastic team together in NYC, which made things even easier for me when I joined.
And, of course, Aviary has got tremendous momentum right now – crazy growth, big-name partner announcements, etc.
So my job has really been to transition in and simply try to help everyone in the company do even more, even faster. That’s quite different to some instances where a new CEO comes in and has to kick-start or reboot the business. In that regard, I feel very fortunate.
TC: How did this partnership with Photobucket come about? Did they reach out to you?
Tobias Peggs: It’s actually a funny story. When Avi asked me to join the company last fall, the first thing I did was talk to some friends in the photo space to get their insight and opinion. One of my good friends, Doug McCuen, runs engineering at Photobucket. So I had a beer with Doug and talked about Aviary. At the end of that beer, I decided I’d be a fool not to join, and he decided Photobucket should really be partnering with Aviary. By the time I started full time in December, our combined BD and Engineering teams had worked their magic, and the integration was half way to completion. It’s great to see it ship today.
TC:What are your thoughts on becoming the standard photo editing software driving the space? Is that a conscious goal?
Tobias Peggs: That is a goal, yes. Today we have over 2,500 partners offering their users a fantastic photo editing experience powered by Aviary. In 2012 we edited 2 billion photos across that partner network. And we’re only speeding up so far in 2013.
TC: Are you working on more partnerships currently?
Tobias Peggs: Yes – right around the clock. Literally. We’re working on new partnerships in Europe, Japan, China, as well as the U.S. NYC is the city that never sleeps, and that’s certainly true in our office
We also chatted with Photobucket’s Chief Product Officer, Kate Hare, about why it was important to provide photo editing tools like Aviary offers to its own users. Photobucket has gone through a radical transformation itself recently, rededicating itself to providing a sticky experience for its users on the web with new features like “Stories.”
TC: What made you decide to offload photo editing to Aviary?
Kate Hare: Photobucket has used third-party editors previously so we can focus on areas where we add value and differentiate ourselves from the competition. Aviary provides an extremely flexible, scalable solution that meets our users’ wide variety of needs. Aviary’s editor is powerful enough for our power users, yet intuitive enough that beginners can jump right in. And most importantly, Aviary offered Photobucket a stronger mobile solution and alignment with our business model.
TC: Are you able to focus on other features for the site and your users by not handling the load that Aviary can?
Kate Hare: We are seeking to deliver a best-in-class user experience across the entire image lifecycle to drive growth and efficiency. Partnering with Aviary allows us to focus on evolving the all-new Photobucket to deliver a unique value proposition — what we’re best at — enabling our users to upload, create and share their life’s stories…simply, easily and everywhere they want.
TC: What was it about Aviary that impressed you the most?
Kate Hare: Aviary shares our commitment to delivering a great customer experience. In addition, Aviary is a partner-first company that provides native SDKs, so we could easily ingest and deploy their tool set across multiple platforms. They also have the scale and roadmap of new features that will help Photobucket meet and exceed the evolving needs of our users.
The perfect part about Aviary’s model is that as a company it can focus on making world-class photo editing solutions that power other popular apps. In a way, it’s the equivalent of Facebook’s social graph, in that it powers many other applications. With that focus, the work is paying off, as I’ve heard from other companies who have photo components that Aviary is starting to be asked for by name by its users. That’s a sign that you’re creating something valuable, especially in an age when everyone has a camera in their pocket at all times.
When you think about how many photos that you take and store online, the answer to what comes next isn’t always to simply take more photos, because with tools like Aviary, you can breathe new life into photos that you’ve already taken. By placing their SDK in your app, you’re assuring your users a fantastic experience that will bump engagement quite a bit. If users spent three or four minutes making their photos prettier, they’ve bonded with your service that much more, and you’d have Aviary to thank for it.
Depending on the size of the app or company, Aviary has a free solution all the way up to an “enterprise” option, which is priced on a case-by-case basis. With photos never going out of style, Aviary is here to stay. Remember when the only way to edit photos was by learning and using Photoshop? Technology has certainly come a long way.
[Photo credit: Flickr]