We just submitted our application to the US Early Stage Accelerator of MassChallenge. In the spirit of open sourcing our start-up journey, we've shared it below. If you have any feedback, feel free to leave a comment below, or email us at [email protected].
Customer Pain and Solution
Problem - Please describe what problem (customer pain point) you are trying to solve.
Smartphone owners take over 7000 pics/year to capture & share experiences with others and relive later. But most get lost in time because people are overwhelmed by the sheer volume spread across devices/services and the difficulty with organizing & sharing. Popular services like Facebook, Instagram & Twitter share with all friends and poorly support real world structures of groups, individuals, events, places, stories, discussions, and they require all content hosted on their platforms.
Solution - What is your solution? What is innovative about your solution, technology, business model, etc?
GreatAlbum takes a unique approach by implementing albums that represent real life with events, individuals, places, stories and discussions. Albums act like groups, with membership controlling who can view content. Media stays in trusted sources like Apple/Google photos/drive, & Dropbox. GreatAlbum captures their metadata and auto-creates events using AI-driven pattern recognition. It uses stories/discussions to bring events/media to life within albums, fostering collaborative communities.
Define the 1 year and 5 year impact that you hope to accomplish
Use whatever metrics are most appropriate for you (e.g., revenue, profit, jobs, societal benefits)
Within 1 year, GreatAlbum aims to ramp up to 50k users and $1M ARR, within 5 years to 50M users and $1B ARR. More importantly, GreatAlbum will define a new approach/purpose to social media, where people connect with well-defined groups to celebrate and relived their shared experiences together. This will help people strengthen their sense of identity, belonging, and appreciation for others.
CUSTOMER NEEDS AND ACQUISITION
How do you define your potential market and what is the total addressable market size?
Use whatever metrics are most appropriate for you (e.g., dollars, people, devices)
TAM: 2.6B smartphone users (1/3 world population) x $100 ARR each = $250B ARR
SAM: 5% interested = $12B ARR
SOM: 70% fee accounts + 20% standard @ $50/yr + 10% premium @ $10/yr = $2.6B ARR
What traction have you made to date with market validation?
(e.g., users, paying customers, lab/trial data)
Ran private beta on MVP1 from Nov'20 - Feb'21 with 20 users. Learned a bunch. Spent a year rearchitecting, rebuilding & replacing dev team. Launched MVP2 in April'22 and ramping users. Running weekly sprints now based on user feedback.
Marketing - What will be your messaging to users & customers? How do you plan to spread that message?
Messaging will focus on key problems we address and how GreatAlbum uniquely solves them. Primary approach to promoting our brand will be via the channels below, social media and word of mouth. The network effect will drive viral adoption.
Sales and Distribution - How will you reach your customers? Via which channels will you likely reach your customers/users?
(e.g., online, retail locations, inside sales, partnerships, direct sales, value-added resellers, franchise, licensing)
Primary channels for enrolling users will be:
- Viral adoption - users invite others to join their albums
- Friends & family list - already have 2000
- Private schools & sports clubs - already engaged with several
- Companies who digitize analog media - developing strat partnership with one
- Companies who publish family biographies/history
Industry and Competitors
Which organizations compete with your value offering now, and who might do so in the future?
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 events with media/stories/etc. We compete with niche players like family-album.com and tinybeans.com, but we're very different, since we curate content and support other use cases. Any of the social media giants would decide to add our approach and would then become competition, but that would be a very hard shift.
Which organizations complement your offering in the market? Do you know of or anticipate any value chain partners?
Social media platforms are sources of media. Story/biography publishers and companies digitizing people's analog media could publish to GreatAlbum. Genealogy companies could integrate with us to enhance media/stories for their users.
What are your primary advantages relative to existing or potential competitors? i.e., Why will you win?
Built from the ground-up to represent real life experiences. Open source approach will integrate with many other platforms to create a robust value chain for GreatAlbum and partners.
Business Model / Financials
What are the key drivers of business economics (price points, margins, etc)?
What do you anticipate as the primary costs/revenue streams?
Revenue driven mainly by individual and business subscriptions, as well as revenue-sharing with value chain partners. Add-on and advertising revenue will come later. Primary costs will be software development, storage and hosting.
Regulation and IP
What IP (Intellectual Property) or regulatory requirements exist for your business or in your industry?
Who owns your IP currently? Do you foresee IP as a competitive advantage?
There are no regulatory requirements, other than the usual privacy ones. GreatAlbum owns its IP related to pattern recognition of media to create events. That will continue to be enhanced, with its unique approach of organizing at an event level.
How many patents or patents pending do you currently have?
Founding Team and Advisors / Investors
Please share some background information on your team members, and tell us what makes your team special.
Founder Erik Britt-Webb has a unique combination of traits that make him well qualified as visionary/leader. Tech lead, Dima, is an expert Drupal architect/developer and also DevOps lead. Dima guides additional developers and designer on software design, development and support. Seema serves as product/project manager, supporting both Erik and Dima.
Please tell us about current or anticipated advisors and investors.
Through his relationships, Erik has cultivated several advisors who are peer founders, product managers and investors.
How can this program best support you?
Please describe one or two specific ways you believe this program could support the growth of your company.
Validate our approach to developing the product and establishing product-market fit. Help me decide how long I continue to take the "slow burn" approach to developing this as a side hustle, and if/how/when I flip the switch to make this full-time.
What do you want to get out of this program most?
Developing a long-lasting mentor
What are the top 3 content areas you are most interested in learning about during the program?
- Product mgmt - gathering user feedback, planning/prioritizing product features, establishing product-market fit.
- Software architecture/development - approach engineering the application
- Business model - product pricing, channel strategy, cost structure
I promise to engage and follow per the MassChallenge Founders Code.