Togethera

Clever Family Photo Sharing Startup Togethera Raises Seed, Releases On Android

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The issue with online photo sharing is that, inherently, you have no idea what will happen to your photos. On the Internet once, on the Internet forever, as the phrase goes. And that is a big problem, not for teens on Instagram but for a market that spends real money online: Families. And not just traditional families, but ‘families’ either in the sense of your in-laws and extended family, but also in the sense of groups who consider themselves a bit of a ‘tribe’. This is the market quietly launched a few months ago to address.

To do it they have raised £250,000 in seed financing from a group of influential European and SF-based Angel/Entrepreneurs. These are: Mosow-based Kirill Makharinsky (cofounder of ostrovok), SF-based Andy McLoughlin (cofounder, Huddle), and from London Andrew Bredon (London co-founder Dealchecker), Nic Brisbourne (Partner at Forward Partners), Alexios Vratskides (Persado and Upstream), Chris Burke (ex CTO Vodafone and previous investor in TrustedPlaces) and HOWZAT Partners (previous investors in TrustedPlaces and Trivago).

Now, OK, yes, there have been other startups in this space, though it’s a patchy area and it is a hard one to make work. 7Moments from Berlin closed last year as did ZangZing for instance.

But while Facebook has a huge chunk of private photo sharing among families, there remains a large group of people out there who are rightly concerned about the privacy situation. And many people – yes, really – still are not on Facebook or do not want to be there. Think of the grandparents for instance who would rather just see the photos of grandkids, and that’s it, yes?

So today London-based Togethera rolls out new product and starts to open the kimono.

Today they release the app (previously iOS only) on Android; enabling video sharing as well as photos; and allowing users to belong to more than one family group on the site.

The last one is the change with the biggest potential impact and the most-requested feature they’ve had so far.

The key difference between Togethera and other apps, is the fact that the site is absolutely private. No friends, no followers and no privacy settings. You can’t be added, subscribed or messaged by another user on the system. You can only be explicitly invited to a group by someone who already has your email address. You don’t have a persistent notification within the app reminding you of the random person who you met once, who then decides to add you as a friend, as even Path does.

It’s also available across platforms, and going after what is in effect a global opportunity of private sharing.

Co-founder and CEO Sokratis Papafloratos tells me: “Family relationships are complex and are never represented accurately by a single group. Enabling users to create multiple groups allows them to use the product in a way that reflects their real life. I believe we’ve delivered that, while still keeping the product brutally simple, so it can be used comfortably by all generations in a family.”

Papafloratos exited Trusted Places to Yell a few years back, and his cofounder is Matt Dempsey is ex-Facebook, and one of the few design interns ever to be offered a job.

Given the carnage in this market already, it will be interesting to see how they do.