Can A YC, Mobile-Rookie Founder Crack The Image Sharing Space With Imgfave?

Popular image-sharing service imgfave launched an iOS app last week, causing most of their engagement metrics to at least double, and signups to quadruple.

Underscoring the power of both mobile and social right now, imgfave’s app reached the same level of activity as the main website, which gets 30 million monthly page views and 3.3 million monthly unique visitors, just two days after it launched, according to the founder, Gabe Ragland.

As its name implies, imgfave is a simple image-sharing site that focuses on “design, creativity and beautiful things.”

Ragland is an unlikely case, a single founder with no mobile experience working to disrupt the image-sharing space that is dominated by giants like imgur.

He applied to YC with a much larger vision for the site, which he hopes to scale up to in the future; he launched in 2009, building it in one week. He started working on imgfave, which he says is very profitable, full-time a year ago, making the site faster and more accessible, tripling its user base.

Ragland has been focusing on the mobile app and future changes during Y Combinator this summer (he will finish in August).

“That’s largely a testament to how much being in YC motivates you to get stuff done, as well as how powerful it is to be surrounded by a network of incredible smart startup founders in the YC program,” Ragland tells me.

A user-generated image, professing their love for the app (hmm…I wonder what that camera app on the left does)

Ragland says the app is successful because of the small, devoted community that he developed early on.

“The lesson for startup founders is to initially focus on building a small, but very happy community, because that can turn into a powerful marketing engine,” he tells me.

Ragland says he is looking to hire a team soon to help him build “the next largest entertainment and content discovery destination online.”

Imgfave will then undergo a site redesign, especially aimed at mobile and tablets and will launch communities for hundreds of different topics. Ragland hopes to turn the site into a platform for engaging image-sharing communities around a variety of niches.