A women-led startup known as Honeycomb is launching its non-public social app for households, backed by $4 million in seed funding led by Peter Boyce at Stellation Capital. Now out of personal beta, the app provides households a approach to curate and share their favourite moments and recollections through their smartphone as an alternative choice to utilizing a extra public social media platform, like Fb, or group texting, the place images and movies might be simply misplaced.
Of be aware, Honeycomb is the primary startup Boyce is backing together with his new agency, Stellation Capital, based this 12 months after he left Normal Catalyst. Different members within the spherical embody DCM (Kyle Liu), Bling Capital (Ben Ling), and Precursor Ventures (Charles Hudson), in addition to angels together with Ancestry CEO Deborah Liu, Giphy founder Alex Chung, and Twitter VP of Engineering Nick Caldwell, previously of Reddit.
Honeycomb itself was co-founded by CEO Amelia Lin, beforehand of Udacity and Optimizely, and former Instagram product supervisor Nicole Wee. The co-founders had been impressed to create an app that will join households by non-public social networking, however had initially approached this with a distinct product, known as Saga. Their first app was a social audio expertise that allow households seize and document their life tales — like tales about how the grandparents first met, for instance, and even simply birthday needs for a kid that may be listened to later, as a type of audio diary.
However whereas that app acquired loads of early press, it wasn’t essentially what households needed. As an alternative, the staff stored listening to from early adopters how they needed to retailer their images and movies, too, not simply audio recordings. So the staff pivoted and rebranded their app as Honeycomb this previous fall.
The brand new expertise launched into non-public beta testing in September, providing a means for households to save lots of their favourite images and movies, that are mixed with textual content and was a digital story of types. The expertise because it stands right this moment, isn’t essentially that rather more strong in contrast with a bunch chat over iMessage, for example, but it surely does supply a simple means to return to revisit older shares which might be troublesome to do when utilizing textual content messaging. It additionally lets customers set a reminder in order that they’ll bear in mind to curate their favourite recollections from the day — a function that’s most likely greatest for brand new mother and father who quickly fill their telephones with dozens of recent images day by day as their child hits new milestones.
“We assist it grow to be a very easy day by day ritual of sorting by the perfect recollections of the day,” explains Lin. “You decide your favorites they usually mechanically get compiled into this story that’s not solely shared with your loved ones, but additionally saved on this assortment eternally,” she says. Nevertheless, she notes, the expertise is just not meant to interchange customers’ current photograph companies, like Google Images, Apple’s Images app, or Dropbox, the place folks again up and save all their content material — together with duplicate images and people who didn’t fairly end up properly.
“I don’t consider that as being the curated, stunning place that I work together with my household,” Lin says. “After which [users may have] Fb and Instagram, however that feels actually public to place my child images out on.” Honeycomb, by comparability, is non-public by default.
“Solely your loved ones will get to decide on who’s in right here, and I do suppose that could be a fairly totally different philosophical strategy,” says Lin. Plus, she notes, “we don’t promote your images or your knowledge to 3rd events.”
Honeycomb can also be totally different from mainstream social apps as a result of will probably be a subscription-based service, not one which’s monetized by promoting. For now, nevertheless, the app is free because the startup will get the brand new app off the bottom.
The corporate is working to deal with the way to embody the household’s elder customers into the platform, which can embody including assist for exporting its content material to be shared elsewhere. However the staff thinks that the draw of recent child and child images would be the push grandma or grandpa wants to determine the way to put the app on their cellphone — even when they’re not technically savvy.
After customers obtain Honeycomb they’ll first acquire entry to a fundamental set of options. However quickly, they’ll be opted into the brand new beta, which features a extra participating story format for sharing recollections with household and associates. (This opt-in gained’t occur instantly, however is now rolling out, the corporate clarifies.)
The thought to return to human curation, not AI, to assist customers discover their greatest images and movies is actually a distinct thought. lately. However whether or not or not folks need to type by their day by day snaps — particularly after that “new child” buzz wears off — stays to be seen.
Apart from, AI might be helpful. (Presumably, a sensible AI would have identified to function a photograph of an individual, not a toy, as the quilt photograph after I made a birthday photograph album within the app). AI may also assist customers mechanically type by images by discarding these with poor lighting or unhealthy publicity.
What customers don’t need, typically, is having an AI have the ultimate say on their “greatest” images or placing collectively albums with none context about their lives and what they suppose is essential. And so they don’t need AI reminding them by automated “recollections” of instances they’d reasonably overlook.
The very best resolution, nevertheless, could also be a steadiness between AI and guide curation, however achieved in a personal, social atmosphere.
As a result of Honeycomb is successfully a brand new app, the startup isn’t sharing person figures. However Lin notes that engagement tripled since pivoting from Saga.
“Honeycomb is a very mission-driven firm, utilizing expertise to advance certainly one of our most simple and long-standing human wishes: to archive and share our household’s recollections,” stated Stellation’s Peter Boyce about his funding within the startup. “Honeycomb has the potential to deliver the household album into the twenty first century. It’s uncommon to search out such a big downside house that’s ripe for a step-function change in innovation. Households are prepared for the following evolution of social apps, one that’s meant to be private and intimate, and this staff is constructing it,” he added.
Honeycomb, now a staff of seven, is planning to make use of the brand new funds for hiring, together with engineers, who will work in-person from its San Mateo workplace house. It expects so as to add round 10 folks.