The Visioning Room

Startup Snapshot: Keepsy

Keepsy Makes Photo Album Collaborations and Gift Giving Easy with Facebook

Have you ever tried to collaborate with friends to pitch in on a gift for a mutual friend? It can become quite aggravating to organize even the smallest of groups. Facebook, however, has a knack for congregating people. Think of all the events you have been to and how many were successfully organized and promoted via Facebook. In a similar vein, Keepsy helps you organize your friends for birthday surprises.

What It Is

Facebook is certainly becoming the culmination of social interaction, and Keepsy is looking to use that to its advantage. Keepsy is a startup application that enables up to 120 Facebook users and friends to collaboratively create scrapbooks and photo albums to gift to friends.

“Make it Together, Give it Together”

Keepsy lets creators invite friends – including those suggested by Keepsy itself – to formulate scrapbooks using photos, tools and templates from Facebook. The software keeps track of important information such as who is contributing to a group gift, and sends (private) reminders via Facebook to contributors involved in the album collaboration for instances such as when the album’s completion date is nearing.

In addition, Keepsy even lets the group chip in to buy a gift of either an actual hardcover version of the virtual scrapbook for $29.95 or a gift card from Amazon. Keepsy handles the delivery of your virtual or physical gift so that it arrives to the recipient on the day of their birthday.

The Wait and See

Unfortunately, given the secretive nature of gifts, Keepsy’s potential for advertising via its users publicly using the platform is essentially non-existent. Co-founders Peter Weck and Blake Williams are planning on implementing other group created albums such as yearbooks, wedding albums, baby showers and travel to avoid the element of surprise that users will want to retain in the case of a birthday gift. For these collaborations, it is more appropriate to allow Facebook updates that can be seen publicly by all of the users’ friends, and thereby function as word-of-mouth advertising for Keepsy.

As a source of revenue, Keepsy and founders are looking into building more relationships with companies other than Amazon to offer gift card deals to the Facebook users. Hopefully, if these two endeavors are met, Keepsy will continue to grow and expand its gift options.

The gift giving aspect of Keepsy is an odd angle. I commend them for trying to monetize, but how much margin really exists in Gift Cards? They need to strengthen the collaborative nature of the product and show real examples of cool ideas that groups can build on their platform. With digital cameras in nearly everyone’s possession, the idea of grouping individual event participants “lens perspective” into a single publication is awesome. I’ve got to ask then: why aren’t we creating photo books that everyone collaborating would like to buy? Why is the catalyst a group buying gift experience for one when it should be a group buying experience for 15?

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2 Responses to “Startup Snapshot: Keepsy”

  1. Blake Williams on March 18th, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    Thanks for the write-up Jess. Keepsy has undergone a tremendous number of changes since we launched back in December, so a few updates and clarifications for you and your readers:

    1) We offer a number of different albums now, including Wedding, Yearbook, Thank You, Birthday, Travel, and a generic “classic” styles. These have been live for a few weeks.

    2) Our primary product is actually a printed hard-back book (not just the digital) for which there is considerably more margin than the gift cards you mentioned. ($1B market and growing) For us, the gift cards are simply a nice additional feature for the user — not a central part of our revenue model.

    3) We found that the tight facebook integration was actually causing more friction than ease in usability. So, we’ve actually been opening up the interaction by switching to a more evite-style email based invitation solution. It’s old school, but the data shows our users like it a lot more.

    4) We’ve added another interesting feature that allows you to email photos directly into your album and it will auto-format a page layout, caption and background for you. Essentially you can build an entire photo album from your mobile phone (!)

    Please let me know if you have other questions or comments, and have a great day!


    • Jess Pugsley on March 19th, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

      Thanks for coming over to check out the post!
      I assumed the hardback was the primary revenue generator – I’d just like to see more emphasis on group buying in quantity.
      I feel if that was emphasized within your marketing material and pitch you’d get groups buying your hardbacks 10 or 15 or more at a time.
      For example – if my friends and I congregate every year during the summer for a vacation in Tahoe or skiing at Mount Snow I’d imagine we’d all like to eternalize that experience in a bound book complete with everyone’s individual perspective as seen through their lens. Tahoe 2011, Mount Snow 2010, Racing Weekend ’09 with My Boys etc. etc.

      How many hardbacks do you currently sell with each order on average?

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