We submitted our application to the MassChallenge Early Stage Accelerator today. Excited to see can make it into this cohort.
In the spirit being open and transparent about our journey, I hope these answers may prove helpful to others following their own journey.
Erik splits his time between two roles - VP of Strategic Alliances at Corero.com and Founder/CEO of GreatAlbum.net. He's spent his entire career in technology, as a developer, architect, consultant, client executive, alliance executive and founder. This is second time as Founder and his sixth pre-IPO company. He specializes in building solutions, developing strategic partnerships, designing and executing go-to-market approaches. Infused throughout all of this, Erik has a deep passion for storytelling to convey key messages, as well as to capture and relive significant experiences.
Short Pitch (140 chars)
GreatAlbum helps groups organize, document, celebrate and relive their shared experiences, strengthening the relationships that bind them
Full Pitch (500 chars)
People are overwhelmed by media from their life events and how cumbersome it is to organize, share and relive. GreatAlbum’s novel approach solves this with albums that represent real life. Album members organize content by events, with media, individuals, places, stories and discussions. Media is not stored in GreatAlbum. Users import metadata about their Apple/Google photos. We're focused on three use cases: (1) Cheer your kid's team, (1) Build a family biography, (3) Celebrate a Loved One.
Elevator Pitch Video Link
Social Media Links
Customer Pain and Solution
Please describe what problem (customer pain point) you are trying to solve. (1000 characters max) *
My son played on the same club soccer team for 6 years, competing in over 200 games across 10 states and 3 countries. This team became a mainstay of our family’s social life – my son bonded with teammates while parents grew close cheering from sidelines. Enthusiastic parents like me collectively amassed 20,000 photos and 200 videos of our experiences, on and off the pitch. We did our best to share those, but it was always disjointed via emails, texts and WhatsApp, with media spread across Google/Apple Photos, Google Drive, Dropbox & Youtube. There was never one place to see all these albums & playlists, and no way to get notified when new ones were created. Now, as we reminisce about the times we shared, finding the media is like finding needles in a haystack, and we’re starting to forget the amazing stories that accompanied these experiences. If only there was a solution!
What is your solution? What is innovative about your solution, technology, business model, etc? (1000 characters max) *
GreatAlbum takes a unique approach to capture real life experiences with shared entities that represent events, media, individuals, places, stories and discussions. Albums act like groups, with membership controlling who can view content. It doesn’t compete with Apple/Google photos, YouTube or similar platforms. Instead, users authorize GreatAlbum to import metadata about their media and auto-create events using AI-driven pattern recognition. Those events are brought to life through collaborative member contributions of media, stories & discussions, as well as tagging individuals & places. If a user is active in only one Album, they can import media, create content, like and comment all within that album. If a user actively contributes to many albums (groups), they can import all their media into a private album, auto-organize into events, then move those events/media into appropriate shared albums. The user can see activity across all their albums from the home stream.
Define the 1 year and 5 year impact that you hope to accomplish. Importantly, what is the benefit on society? What measures do you have - for example: Revenue & Profit, and CO2/Emissions removed or lives saved. (1000 characters max) *
Within 1 year, GreatAlbum aims to ramp up to 500k users and $800k ARR. Within 5 years it aims to reach 100M users and $1B ARR. More importantly, GreatAlbum will define a new approach to social media, where people connect with groups of family/friends to capture, celebrate and relive shared experiences. It will promote the positive purpose to strengthen a sense of identity, belonging, and appreciation for others. It will do this through a number of use cases, such as:
- Parents/fans cheering their youth sports teams
- School class alumni reliving the old days and staying in touch
- Extended families capturing stories of before they disappear
- Core families building biographies in real-time
- Celebrating the life of an loved one a key life milestone
Customer Needs And Acquisition
How would you define your potential market and what is the addressable market size? Use whatever metrics are most appropriate for you (e.g., dollars, people, devices) (1000 characters max) *
For only the youth sports use case in the US, assuming 60M kids play youth sports and 200M team “fans” (family & friends) cheer them on:
- TAM: $20B ARR if all fans paid $100/yr GreatAlbum unlimited subscription
- SAM: $1B ARR if 5% paid unlimited subscription
- SOM: $400M ARR if that 5% broke down to 70% free/not users, 20% pay $50/yr and 10% pay $100/yr
If the global market is 10x US, then the global numbers for the youth sports use case:
- TAM = $200B, SAM = $20B, SOM = $4B
For all use cases, assuming 2.8B smartphone owners worldwide:
- TAM: $280B ARR if one-third of them paid $100/yr GreatAlbum unlimited subscription
- SAM: $2.8B ARR if 1% paid unlimited subscription
- SOM: $560M ARR if that 1% broke down to 70% free/not users, 20% pay $50/yr and 10% pay $100/yr
What traction have you made to date with market validation? (e.g., users, paying customers, lab/trial data) (1000 characters max) * (e.g., users, paying customers, lab/trial data)
We ran a GreatAlbum private alpha for MVP1 on Drupal from Nov'20 - Feb'21 with 20 users. Learned a bunch about critical social interactions that were missing. We rebuilt GreatAlbum to include a social interaction engine using Drupal+OpenSocial and ran a private beta on MVP2 from April-Dec'22. Ramped up to 100 users including 5 subscribers. We then added the Google Photos integration and launched public beta on MVP3 in Jan’23 with a primary focus on youth sports teams. We’ve ramped up to 300 users so far. Still taking a slow, measured pace while we work out a number of bugs and feature enhancements. We’re using “The Mom Test” principles to gather customer feedback from youth sports fans about their behaviors, with no mention of our solution, to better understand what really matters to them. We’re planning to promote more broadly and pick up the pace at the end of March’23.
What will be your messaging to users & customers and how do you plan to spread that message? (1000 characters max) *
The messaging will be similar across use cases, with some variations.
- Parents/fans of youth sports teams - Capture the moments and share with parents/grandparents who couldn’t be there. Relive past events.
- School class alumni - Relive the old days. Stay in touch and keep up on current life experiences. Make reunions even more meaningful.
- Extended families - Capture stories about parents, grandparents and other relatives before they disappear. Learn so much more about their rich, multidimensional lives from other people’s perspectives.
- Core families - Build biographies in real-time. Share meaningful experiences with family & friends.
- Family/Friends of a Loved One - Celebrate the milestone a loved one through collaborative biography of meaningful experiences. Strengthen community bonds at the same time.
We will spread our messaging through the channels below. The network effect through personal invitations of members will be huge!
How will you reach your customers? Which channels will you use to reach your customers/users? (e.g., online, retail locations, inside sales, partnerships, direct sales, value-added resellers, franchise, licensing) (1000 characters max) *
Thanks to multiple compelling use cases, we can leverage numerous powerful channels for enrolling new users:
- Founder (Erik B-W) has a list of 2500 family and personal friends teed up to invite, when ready
- Viral adoption - may be the most compelling channel as existing users create new albums and invite others to join
- Private schools & sports clubs - already engaged with three about rolling out GreatAlbum to all their teams & club
- Companies who digitize analog media - exploring strategic partnership with one to be their publishing/organizing platform
- Companies who publish family biographies/history - could also be their interactive publishing platform
Industry and Competitors
Which organizations compete with your value offering now, and who might do so in the future? (1000 characters max) *
People assume we compete with social media giants like Apple/Google Photos, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter, but they're actually sources of media that we can curate for our users into shared albums, organized into events. We compete with niche players like family-album.com 23snaps.com and tinybeans.com, but we're very different, since we curate content and support other use cases. Teamsnap and SportsEngine are big youth sports apps, but they are terrible at storing media and creating stories. Any of the social media giants could decide to add our approach and would then become competition, but that would be a very hard shift.
What are your primary advantages relative to existing or potential competitors? i.e., Why will you win? (1000 characters max) *
- Built from the ground-up to capture real life experiences with albums that represent events, media, stories, discussions, individuals & places.
- Does not require you to save your media in the app, but rather to import metadata with links back to your media in trusted platforms.
- Open source approach will integrate with many other platforms to create a robust value chain for GreatAlbum and its partners.
- Numerous use cases enable multiple channels for reaching new customers through businesses/schools
- First mover advantage to this approach with a built-in viral network effect
Which organizations complement your offering in the market? Do you know of or anticipate any value chain partners? (1000 characters max) *
This has been largely discussed in previous answers, so to recap:
- Social media platforms are sources of media and good potential partners; already an approved Google Photos partner. Will approach others later this year.
- Schools, colleges and youth sports clubs will be excellent partners for onboarding teams and alumni classes at scale, which will reach huge numbers of potential users.
- Media digitization companies and story/biography publishers could be great content publishing partners, bringing all their customers to GreatAlbum.
- Genealogy companies like Ancestry.com could integrate with us to enhance media/stories for their users.
Regulation and IP
What IP (Intellectual Property) exists for your business or in your industry? Who owns your IP currently? Do you foresee IP as a competitive advantage? (1000 characters max) *
There are no regulatory requirements, other than the usual privacy ones. GreatAlbum is exploring patents for its IP related to pattern recognition of media to auto-create events, as well as the overall approach of albums containing multiple entities to represent real life. This IP should definitely be a competitive advantage.
What regulatory requirements exist for your business or in your industry? (1000 characters max) *
Standard online privacy regulations.
Founding Team and Advisors / Investors
Please share some background information on your team members, and tell us what makes your team special. (1000 characters max) *
Erik Britt-Webb - Founder & CEO, has a unique combination of traits that make him well qualified as visionary/leader. As a computer-science engineer in his early days with specialization in data architecture and an open source advocate for the past 20 years, he has strong literacy in the technologies and data design behind GreatAlbum. As a business development & strategic alliance executive for the last 15 years, he has a broad network of relationships and expertise that will propel business development for GreatAlbum.
Dima Storozhuk - CTO, iTech4Web Inc. CEO, expert Drupal architect/developer with 10 years of experience in Drupal development. Dima guides the development and design team on software design, development and support.
Nicole Cutrufo - Project/Product Manager - has deep expertise in project and program management.
Currently looking for someone to lead Marketing.
Business Model / Financials
What are the key drivers of business economics (price points, margins, etc)? I.e., what do you anticipate as the primary costs/revenue streams? (1000 characters max) *
Revenue will be driven mainly by individual subscriptions - $5/mo or $50/yr for standard subscription, $10/mo or $100/yr for unlimited subscription (see greatalbum.net/subscribe). Exploring business subscriptions and/or revenue sharing models for sports clubs, schools and digitization companies, but those are not yet determined. Advertising revenue may come later.
Primary cost will be software development, followed by hosting/storage.