French startup Polagram just released a couple of new features and raised a round of funding. You can use the iPhone or Android app to print your photos directly from your phone and receive your prints a few days after ordering them. The app tries to get out of the way as much as possible, it’s just the missing link between your camera roll and your printed photos.
The company raised $700,000 (€500,000) from multiple French and American business angels who work or used to work for Voyage Privé, Price Minister, Orange, Fnac and more. The startup is also part of TheFamily.
“We had this idea of printing photos from your mobile,” co-founder and CEO Jeremy Charoy told me in a phone interview. “I took photos of my grandmother’s birthday in 2009 or 2010. At the time, you could use Hipstamatic, but it didn’t work well. The problem was still there in 2012, so we decided to launch Polagram.”
At first, the company only had one product, 10x10cm-square prints. But everything was still manual — the company was doing things that don’t scale. The team had to ride a Vélib bike with a USB key to their favorite printer, and put the photos in the envelopes themselves.
The company then added a new 10x13cm format for full size iPhone photos and a Polaroid-style format with white borders. It also signed a deal with a photo laboratory to automate the printing process. This way, the company could focus on the user experience and business development.
That’s why Polagram just launched two new products — a 26-page hardcover book and a collage poster. “Our goal is that you can make a book in less than three minutes on your phone,” Charoy said.
I played a bit with the app, and it’s true that the ordering process is fast. You select your product, select photos from your camera roll, Facebook or Instagram accounts, enter your address and payment information and you’re done. A photo costs $0.45, a poster $28, a book $35.
While you can order from nearly anywhere in the world, the company is working on deals with local photo laboratories to improve shipping. For example, it recently signed a deal with a German laboratory and is currently looking for an Asian partner.
Now, there are eight people working on Polagram, with most of the team based in Nancy, France. Polagram’s competitors include full-fledged photo companies, such as Shutterfly or PhotoBox. But these companies aren’t focused on providing the best mobile experience.
It’s still too early to say whether there is enough room in the market for Polagram. Yet, now that most people use their phones as their primary cameras, printing photos should be as easy as switching apps.