Why we are excited to back Lapse — the shared disposable camera
If there is one thing that has become undeniably clear over the past 1.5 years, it is that people are social creatures. Having been forced to minimize social interaction throughout the months that COVID-19 raged over our planet, it seems somewhat logical that we now see a revival of consumer social platforms as we have been desperately trying to find new ways of staying close and connected to our friends and loved ones.
This ‘Renaissance’ of consumer social has fueled the rise of apps such as Clubhouse, Discord and Hopin that brought new dynamics to the networking and messaging space.
However, disruption did not stay limited to these sectors. When it comes to photo-taking and sharing, we have seen a number of new apps hitting the market and for good reason.
Rise Above Research, a consulting firm that provides market research for the digital imaging industry, estimates that in 2021 the global population will take a staggering 1.4 trillion photos — that’s 1,400,000,000,000 photos — and this number will continue to grow strongly in the following years.
Smartphones are the most-used devices for taking all these snaps, and with approximately 90% of all photos currently being taken by our trusty digital companion, it is not unexpected that apps like BeReal (take pictures at the same time every day) and Poparazzi (take pictures of your friends) have gained significant traction.
Needless to say, social media usage continues to be a huge driver behind taking photos. Apps such as Instagram and TikTok have each amassed over one billion users and people across the globe are sharing more than 3.2bn photos through social media every day.
Instagram is mostly known for influencers pushing highly engineered and curated photos to their followings, and in recent years the platform has bolted on various products to do so. Next to posts, you can now use stories, reels, as well as live video to distribute your content.
Yet, if you look a bit deeper into the platform, you clearly start to see trends of people craving a more intimate and authentic experience. For one, the number of people having a private account next to their public account is on the rise, driven by a need to share the best pictures with only a selective and curated group of friends and followers. Another trend we’re seeing is that more and more users move away from highly stylized and engineered pictures to more raw and authentic pictures, by simply dumping whatever pic they take on the platform.
However, as Instagram has expanded it’s platform in the direction of mass distribution and clearly starts to move beyond just photos, it is clear that the platform’s ability to serve people who look for intimacy and authenticity in photo-sharing is, frankly speaking, very limited.
This is where Lapse comes in. Designed by brothers Ben and Dan Silvertown, Lapse allows users to take pictures as if they were using a shared disposable camera. Together with your friends, you start a photo roll that allows you to take up to 36 snaps. After taking a picture, you can add a quick ‘tease’ before you send it to the roll. But you won’t be able to see the actual end result until the roll has been ‘developed’. Photos are revealed in a rapid-fire GIF (a ‘lapse’) after the roll is complete, giving you effectively two moments to enjoy the snaps: once when you make the picture and share the tease and once when the picture gets revealed through the lapse. What a joy!
As an early investor in the company we had the luxury of trying and testing Lapse in recent months, and it was, therefore, a no-brainer to turn to the app when we were looking for ways to capture memories of our recent 10 year anniversary party. It is fair to say the whole Speedinvest team — from intern to founding partner — went crazy on Lapse!! Unfortunately, though, our compliance team did not allow us to share any of the great snaps we’ve made, on this blog.
That being said, this experience did make it clear to us that the Lapse team is on to something. And we are not alone in that belief. With 10,000 people using the app through Testflight and another 150,000 people that have pre-ordered the app in the iOS Appstore, we have all been anticipating the public launch of Lapse. You can read about the public announcement here.
Ben and Dan Silvertown are the creative brains behind the app and we at Speedinvest could not be more excited to team up with them. Both have substantial entrepreneurial experience under their belt and they bring a proven track record of building sticky products through viral mechanics.
Ben has been one of the masterminds behind ‘The World’s Most Expensive Pop-up Shop’, and holds an illustrious reputation of having broken the UK voting registration website after his Goat-gif on Facebook went viral. His older brother Dan co-founded recruiting business Talent ladder, but generated even more buzz through his COVID-19 induced ‘DIY haircut platform’, LockdownHaircut, which was picked up by various international media, including the BBC.
We’re excited to back Ben and Dan as they are building out Lapse. Joining us is an army of amazing angel investors, including Sameer Singh who has also written a post sharing his thoughts on Lapse.
In case you are keen to join Lapse, please note that the platform is currently invite-only. You can sign up for the waitlist here, or you can be smart and ask anyone on the Speedinvest team for an invite :) Oh, and keep an eye out on Lapse’s job postings too, I heard they might be hiring soon!