GrooveBook, a photo-printing app and subscription service that creates personalized photo books featuring up to 100 of your photos, shipped monthly, has been acquired by photo printing giant Shutterfly for $14.5 million. The smaller startup is probably best known for as the photo book app from TV’s “Shark Tank,” where founders Julie and Brian Whiteman pitched their uniquely designed photo books, which have a groove in the side making them flexible – and also cheaper to print.
On the show, the startup scored a deal from Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary for a $150,000 investment for 80% licensing rights only. GrooveBook, which had acquired over 18,000 subscribers in the 8 months before the show, benefited from the exposure and grew its business to 500,000 paid subscribers post-Shark Tank, the company said in a later update.
Shutterfly tells us today that GrooveBook has more than 1 million downloads, 200 million photo uploads and GrooveBook subscribers have grown 15 times since appearing on Shark Tank.
Today, GrooveBook offers an iPhone and Android app that lets customers print photos from their mobile phone. The 4.5″ x 6.5″ GrooveBooks are then shipped out for $2.99 per month.
The company’s concept was interesting enough, but the app and service had mixed reviews. On iTunes, for example, the app held just a 2.5-star rating with customers complaining about its low-quality picture and paper quality, and technical issues with the app.
By joining Shutterfly, the smaller company will now have the resources of Shutterfly’s scale when it comes to photo printing, which may help get costs down even further, and boost its previously slim margins. A quote GrooveBook founder Brian hints that the company was not yet in the black. He said that by joining Shutterfly and “leveraging their technology platform, expansive manufacturing footprint, and expertise in quickly scaling brands, we will be able to scale GrooveBook operations and grow it into a profitable, nationally recognized brand.”
Initially, the Whitemans will stay on with Shutterfly as consultants, the company says.
GrooveBook is one of several photo-focused startups Shutterfly has acquired over the past couple of years. Others include ThisLife, R and R Images, Tiny Prints, Penguin Digital, MyPublisher, Treat, Wedding Paper Divas, BorrowLenses, and more.