RRE Investor Adam Ludwin Has Decided To Start A Company, Albumatic, In The Most Crowded Space Ever

Business Insider

Adam Ludwin sees a lot of startups as a principal at RRE, a venture capital firm that's invested in companies like Moda Operandi, Makerbot, Braintree and Business Insider

As such, he sees broad trends in entrepreneurship; he knows what every founder is working on, which spaces are the most crowded, and which types of startups investors are looking to financially back.

Two of the biggest trends right now are: 

  • Social photo and video apps -- Think Viddy, SocialCam, Cinemagram and Snapchat. All emerged as Instagram was getting acquired for $1 billion and Pinterest was receiving a billion-dollar valuation.
  • Reinventing the iPhone's default apps -- I nstagram re-invented the Camera app and found success. Spotify is often used instead of Apple's "Music." Evernote is a good alternative to "Notes," the new Mailbox app is preferred to "Mail" and apps like Sunrise and Fantastical are better than "Calendar."

Ludwin founded two companies prior to joining RRE, and now he's trying his hand at another one. He's co-founding an iPhone app with a friend from Los Angeles, Devon Gundry.

And guess what? 

  • It's a social photo app called Albumatic
  • It's trying to smother one of Apple's default apps, "Photos."

"I really don't want to like another photo app," I told Ludwin as I looked at the app. He laughed and said, "Neither do I."

But as I stalked recent photos of CrunchFund's MG Siegler on a trip to Cabo with his girlfriend, I found myself warming to Albumatic.

Albumatic is a social, beautifully-designed alternative to Apple's "Photos," an album app most people forget they have on their iPhones. Ludwin calls Albumatic an "organizational layer" for photos, separating them by event, location, and featured people.

"There were seven or eight of us all taking photos of Devon's new baby," Ludwin explained Albumatic's origins. "All together we had taken 100 photos, but they were all siloed in each others' devices. There are endless places to share photos -- via text message, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter -- but there's no good, social way to bulk combine camera rolls and image galleries."

When you join Albumatic, it helps you find other users on Facebook, in your contact list, or nearby via the iPhone's GPS.  From then on, when you and a friend are near each other, you can create and join albums together.

No invites codes are sent back and forth; friends see albums as you create them through push notifications, and they can either "watch" it if they aren't nearby, or they can join the album if they're witnessing the same event. Like Instagram, people can favorite or comment on photos.

Like Path and Foursquare, each user has a profile page that displays their albums, photos and activity. Here's what it looks like:

Only your friends can watch/subscribe to your albums, so strangers won't be able to creep into them (I was only able to "watch" photos of MG's trip to Cabo because Ludwin is friends with him. I wouldn't have been able to do that on my version of the app).

Albumatic could be good if you want to witness a friend's spring break trip you can't make, or a wedding you weren't invited to. Subscribing to an album is like being there in spirit, and you can watch the event unfold in real-time without having to wait for Facebook uploads after the fact. 

It's also good for weddings you are invited to, where every friend has a camera and is snapping their own shots. Instead of uploading and tagging each camera roll separately on Facebook, you can join forces and see everyone's photos at once on Albumatic.

Here's what the album view looks like in the app:

One problem with Albumatic is, if events are too big (think South by Southwest), it's possible to have too many people join a single album. If a bunch of friends of friends of friends are at a concert or event together, they could all end up joining the same album and contribute thousands of photos that the album creator never cared to see.

Ludwin calls this idea "album hijacking" and admits it could be a problem. He and Gundry have contemplated capping the number of people who can join albums. He says Siegler has already hijacked one of his from a San Francisco trip.

Here's a view of all the people that have joined or watched an album:


Also, there's no way to remove or "untag" a photo of you once it's in Albumatic, and anyone who's subscribed to the album can see it. Ludwin says the only current solution is to ask the poster to take down the image.

Here's what the group camera roll looks like in Albumatic:

For now, Ludwin will remain at RRE and involved in companies where he's on the board: HowAboutWe, Moda Operandi, Kik Interactive, Paperless Post and VYou.

RRE will also be investing in Albumatic, although a round of financing hasn't closed yet.

Ludwin realizes photo-sharing is a packed space, but after months of mulling it over and researching Albumatic's competitors, he's confident in his startup.

When asked why he picked such a crowded space he replied,  " Simple: the problem was still unsolved!"



More From Business Insider

Rates

View Comments (0)

Recommended for You

  • Tycoon buys 30 Rolls-Royces for Macau hotel

    A Hong Kong tycoon has placed the biggest ever order for Rolls-Royce cars, agreeing to buy 30 Phantoms to chauffeur guests at a luxury resort he's building in the global gambling capital of Macau. Stephen Hung's $20 million purchase surpasses the 14 Phantoms bought by Hong Kong's Peninsula Hotel in…

    Associated Press
  • Accomplish your career goals

    At Capella University, you can learn the skills you need to succeed. Why wait another day? Get started today.

    AdChoicesCapella UniversitySponsored
  • Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia

    Tycoon's arrest sends shock wave through Russia MOSCOW (AP) — The arrest of a Russian telecoms and oil tycoon has sent shock waves through the country's business community, with some fearing a return to the dark days of a decade ago, when the Kremlin asserted its power by imprisoning the country's…

    Associated Press
  • Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks

    Before You Buy Alibaba, Check Out 4 Top China Stocks While investors gear up for Alibaba Group 's (BABA) hotly anticipated initial public offering, don't forget about other Chinese stocks that are worth keeping an eye on. Today's Young Guns Screen of

    Investor's Business Daily
  • As Fed takes baby steps, Cramer's trick for profit

    In turn, Cramer says making money in the market, involves looking at the environment through the lens of the Fed. "The trick is to remember that they speak for the common person," Cramer said. "The Fed wants the common person to make money." With that backdrop always in mind, Cramer says it becomes…

    CNBC
  • Costco Stores in Canada to Stop Taking American Express

    “The credit card relationship between American Express and Costco Wholesale Canada will not be renewed when it expires” on Dec. 31, the company said today in an e-mail to Canadian customers. The message was attributed to Lorelle Gilpin, vice president of marketing and membership for Costco…

    Bloomberg
  • "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savings

    "The Retiree Next Door": How successful retirees stretch their savingsBy the time she hit her late 40s, Toni Eugenia wasn’t sure she would ever be able to retire. Eugenia, 56, a pharmacy technician who lived in Houston, was nearly $200,000 in debt and

    Yahoo Finance
  • CNBC Anchor Calls Out Fed-Hater Bill Fleckenstein In Startling Shouting Match

    CNBC Bill Fleckenstein of Fleckenstein Capital appeared on CNBC's Futures Now program on Tuesday. Futures Now host Jackie DeAngelis came out swinging, asking Fleckenstein right at the top if he was willing to admit that he had misunderstood monetary policy. Sounding taken aback, Fleckenstein…

    Business Insider
  • 1 Tip To Lose Belly Fat

    It's Hollywood's Hottest Diet And Gets Rid Of Stubborn Fat Areas Like Nothing Else.

    AdChoicesagoodcooksSponsored
  • Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court

    Beanie Babies creator's sentence debated in court CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors seeking to put the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies in prison for hiding millions in Swiss bank accounts told appellate court judges Wednesday that the toymaker's sentence of probation threatens to erode the…

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Citi, Bank of America Offer Discounted Mortgages

    Citigroup and Bank of America will offer mortgages at discounted interest rates to help borrowers with low incomes or subprime credit. AnnaMaria Andriotis joins MoneyBeat. Photo: Getty.

    WSJ Live
  • Apple to unveil new iPads, operating system on Oct. 21 : report

    The company plans to unveil the sixth generation of its iPad and the third edition of the iPad mini, as well as its operating system OS X Yosemite, which has undergone a complete visual overhaul, the Internet news website said. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The iPad is…

    Reuters
  • Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks

    Gilead Stock Is Falling On These Drug Setbacks Gilead Sciences (GILD) shares are backsliding Wednesday on news that the patient drop-out rate for hepatitis C drug Sovaldi is quadruple that of clinical trials. In addition, the biotech's Phase 2 study results

    Investor's Business Daily
  • Margaritaville casino owners seek bankruptcy

    The owner of Biloxi's Margaritaville casino has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, only hours before a hearing where the landlord aimed to seize the property. The filing by MVB Holding LLC in U.S. Don Dornan, a lawyer for landlord Clay Point LLC, said the company had planned to ask…

    Associated Press
  • Here's What Mark Cuban Wishes He Knew About Money In His 20s

    Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban is generous with his advice. When we asked him what he wishes he'd known about money in his 20s, he said:

    Business Insider
  • Norwich Information Security MS

    Online, accredited, top ranked. NSA Center of Academic Excellence. Recognized by the Department of Homeland Security. Download your free brochure!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • Embraer to sell 50 E-175 jets to Republic in $2.1 billion deal

    Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday it booked a firm order from U.S. The deal, which will be included in Embraer's order book for the third quarter, is valued at $2.1 billion, the planemaker said in a securities filing. The planes will be operated…

    Reuters
  • SHOE COMPANY: Our CEO Just Disappeared And Most Of The Money Is Gone

    "and like that: he's gone." This is an actual headline from a company press release: "CEO and COO disappeared, most of the company's cash missing." (Via FastFT) In a statement, German-based shoe company Ultrasonic said its CFO,  Chi Kwong Clifford Chan, has been unable to reach the company's CEO,…

    Business Insider
  • Play

    What the Fed Meeting Means for Bonds

    Janet Yellen & Co. are expected to hint at their timetable for raising interest rates. Here's how investors should prepare ahead of the meeting.

    WSJ Live
  • Billionaire Investor Says Chinese People Work Harder And Western Companies Could Face Deep Trouble After Alibaba IPO

    Michael Moritz, the chairman of VC firm Sequoia Capital, is a huge fan of Chinese internet companies and reiterated his enthusiasm for the Chinese market in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The billionaire investor described the Alibaba IPO as a “major landmark event” that is as…

    Business Insider
  • Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More

    Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: AEP, BHP, GE, Incyte, 3M, Tyco, Under Armour and More Stocks were firm on Wednesday morning ahead of the FOMC meeting outcome. Tuesday’s rally may have sparked higher interest again, and investors are looking for bargains

    24/7 Wall St.
  • Don't buy Alibaba stock: 'Dean of Valuation'

    Investors should steer clear of Alibaba , valuation expert Aswath Damodaran said Wednesday. On CNBC's " Fast Money ," Damodaran, a professor of finance at New York University's Stern School of Business, noted that he was looking at Alibaba stock from the perspective of a long-term investor, not a…

    CNBC
  • Master's Degree in Nursing

    CCNE accredited MS in nursing in as few as 18 months online. Learn more today!

    AdChoicesNorwich UniversitySponsored
  • 6 Things Debt Collectors Wish You Knew

    The work debt collectors do is not popular, and has become increasingly derided by those who don’t like what we do or simply don’t know the facts about debt collection. Too often, debt collection is painted with a broad brush to create a portrait that isn’t accurate, and doesn’t properly educate…

    Credit.com