As local startup app Shuttersong expands its photo-sharing technology across the digital landscape, a new investment of $500,000 has pushed the company’s total seed funding to $2.2 million.
The Wellesley-based mobile application allows users to embed 15-second sound or music files into still images, combining key elements of other successful social media platforms while offering a unique way to record and share audio snapshots.
“The compelling thing about Shuttersong is it gives you all the benefit of video with all the convenience photography,” said the company’s chief executive and co-founder William Agush. “Every mobile user already knows how to take a picture and every company already has a photographic library, so the consumer and commercial possibilities really are huge.”
Local angel investors agree.
In the year since Shuttersong launched its fundraising efforts, the startup has drawn the funds and confidence of a small but elite group of financial backers, including Gil Anderson, former Accenture partner, who single-handedly contributed the latest $500,000 investment.
Agush said the money will allow the company to move away from fundraising and focus on driving revenue through corporate partnerships and product development.
“This money will really give us the flexibility to expand the capability of the app and focus on the business side of things,” he said. “We’ve had tremendous interest from brands that want to use it for things like marketing campaigns, message delivery, audience engagement, [and] product introductions.”
Photo-sharing has rapidly become the hailstorm around which social media revolves, and apps like Instagram (which famously sold to Facebook for $1 billion) and Snapchat (estimated to be worth between $3 and $4 billion) have developers across the country searching for the next big hit.
But Agush isn’t your typical twenty-something tech genius from Silicon Valley: He’s 59 years old, runs Shuttersong out of his home in Wellesley, and employs only himself and three other cofounders, also in their late 40’s or 50’s.
“We are a pretty unconventional management team for what’s typically thought of as being a young person’s business,” he said. “But it proves how wide open the opportunities are right now. Especially in Boston, you don’t need to be a fresh Stanford grad to get funding. There is money to be raised out there if you can execute a great idea.”
Shuttersong is already in talks with companies including a large greeting card business, a major record label, and a main power line about licensing the patent-pending technology, said Agush. The company expects to establish a profitable revenue stream this year, though only time will tell whether it can garner enough attention become sustainable, much less the new Vine.
So far, more than 30,000 users – from teenagers sharing talking selfies on Facebook to older folks sending audio images to tech-savvy grandkids – have downloaded the app in Apple’s App Store since it launched there in September.
The software is also expected to be available on Android operating systems starting this spring.