Photo-sharing application Memoir, a Timehop competitor that allows you to rediscover old photo “memories,” has raised an additional $5.5 million in a round led by Redpoint Ventures’ Ryan Sarver. Others participating included prior investors Founder Collective, Box Group, Lerer Ventures and Thrive Capital.
The company had previously raised $1.2 million in seed funding.
Formerly the head of platform at Twitter, the new round is Sarver’s first as a VC, and is representative of investors’ increasing interest in funding more private social networks.
Memoir, for background, first launched on iOS in fall 2013, offering users a variety of ways to uncover their old photos, including a time capsule-like function that’s a lot like Timehop’s. But Memoir tacks on several other features, too, including the ability to ask friends for photos you and they both snapped while at the same place at the same time.
This September, the company rolled out an improved feature it calls “predictive photo sharing,” which co-founder Lee Hoffman explained involves using data to figure out when you’ve arrived and left a location, and which friends were there. The app visually prompts you with suggestions of friends you can share with, making the process easier than having to go around asking everyone to text you their photos.
It’s a clever trick that relies on an iOS 8 feature called “Visit Monitoring,” which is part of the iOS 8 Core Location Framework.
While technologically interesting, the app can still be more challenging to explain to new users because it’s not quite as simple a concept as something like Timehop’s “this day in history” complication of old photos and social media posts.
That being said, what Memoir is doing is a worthwhile challenge for a startup to take on. Users are snapping more and more smartphone photos these days, but most get abandoned to the ether after they’re taken. The photos are only sometimes shared on public social networks, like Facebook, and eventually, users clear out their photo galleries on their smartphones to make room for new photos – sometimes without even backing up first.
Hoffman says users today only share 20% of their photos publicly on social networks today, down 10% from three years earlier. Meanwhile, the app’s users are taking around 5 photos per day, up 75% year-over-year. While the company won’t talk about specific download numbers or active users, Hoffman would say that one of the factors in the raise was the app’s “incredible stickiness” and its engagement numbers.
“Specifically, greater than 35% of users that have ever registered are active on the product,” he says.
The company is now rolling out a number of new products, including web signup and a full OS X experience, now live here on Memoir’s homepage. For now, Memoir remains free, but eventually the plan is to introduction a premium subscription option to help the company generate revenue.
Note: The original version of this story was updated to correct Ryan Sarver’s previous role at Twitter.