Friday, August 30, 2013

From Deja Mi to WedPics: Focus, Focus, Focus

The second in a series of articles that highlight companies selected to Demo at the CED Tech Venture Conference 2013, by Ann Revell-Pechar.

Focus is more than how you take a good picture – it’s also how you grow a great company. Just ask WedPics’ Justin Miller.

Three years ago, Justin started a scrappy little company called Deja Mi featuring a photo sharing application that was supported by big name partners. He grew it to 30,000 users, with no acquisition cost. But the more he studied what people did with these photos, the more he realized that a vertical niche might be the key to serious growth.

Where are there a lot of photos being taken? At weddings, and at all of the festivities that start with the engagement and end post-honeymoon. Averaged out, there are about 6000 weddings every day in the United States. If 100 people are invited, 30% might take pictures.  That’s 1.8 million people taking pictures of wedding-related activities every day. And then, they share the best shots.

So Miller knuckled down, brought development in-house, raised a little money, and created WedPics. This free photo sharing app essentially becomes a digital photo album, a central and interactive repository for all the pictures taken by guests, from the engagement party until the welcome home, post-honeymoon reception. It becomes each couple’s private social network to share content related to their wedding.

WedPics went live one year ago, in August 2012. They already have more than 400,000 users, and have created albums for more than over 100,000 couples. Couples are seeing, on average, 25 guests posting their photos to the site. With this kind of growth, we wondered where WedPics would go next.

“We’re focused on user acquisition and market domination,” said Miller. “Our goal is to capture 10% of the market by the end of 2013. As of June, we’d surpassed 5% so we’re well on our way.”

To his point: In August of 2013, WedPics began their first test for monetizing the site through a strategic partnership with Raleigh’s own LuLu. They’ve integrated the WedPics website with printed photo books. And soon the company hopes to finalize a partnership with Kodak and Target to print one-off photos at any local Target using the app.

“It’s a revenue share approach,” said Miller. “We’re looking for non-intrusive ways to bring value while we keep monetization ideas growing.”

WedPics is the fastest growing company in this vertical, in term of user numbers. It’s highly viral, and the fans are big fans… not just users. Brides are vocal and their input helps the company evolve the product.

Miller doesn’t shy away from what being in NC has meant to his company’s growth this far. “The best thing about this region is the networks here. We have great developers that allow us to operate “leanly”, and we were able to identify investors such that our $1.1 Million Series A round was oversubscribed. North Carolina is a place companies can grow and blossom.”

WedPics will be at the CED Tech Venture Conference 2013 on September 17 – 18. Come see what’s next for this sprouting firm.

1 comment:

  1. We've also grown too! It's worth checking out.

    Wedpics is impressive!