It has been over a week since Silicon Valley-inspired acceleration program SparkLabs officially began its first program in Seoul. Last week, the youngest startup in the group of selected companies WePlanet, launched its first app PocketShare — with which it aims to change the way that friends and acquaintances share photos with one another. The app is a cloud service that is designed to eliminate and optimize the time consuming task of sending photos to friends after meeting up.
While there are many options these days for sharing photos, most of these require an extra step such as uploading them to social networks. There are plenty of file and cloud sharing options around the place too, but these are often heavy and designed for all file types. The CEO of WePlanet Daniel Cho says that he came up with the idea one day after travelling with his girlfriend.
“Often when you’re hanging out with your friends everyone takes photos with their smartphones and each person takes a few photos each. The funny thing is that you end up with photos that don’t have yourself in them, and the photos that have you in them are on your friends’ phones.
What usually happens is that after meeting, friends have to send the photos one at a time through group chatting programs like Kakao Talk or upload them and tag people on Facebook. Often people will only upload or send a few good photos to everyone since sending every single one takes effort.”
PocketShare lets you share a synchronized folder or “pocket” of photos between friends easily so that users spend less time worrying about them. After creating a pocket, users can begin taking photos from directly within the app or upload any number of images already saved on the device. The user interface is fairly easy to use and once you’ve chosen who to share your pocket with, hit the synchronization button and sharing photos becomes a lot easier.
Cho explains that another one of the goals for both PocketShare and WePlanet as a company is to help people become more social again when meeting up.
“Friends these days get together and just stare at their phone and nobody properly focuses when spending time with friends anymore. People are actually becoming “un-social” and we want to help people share things faster so that they can concentrate on real life.”
Overall, PocketShare is a very simple and easy to use app that does its job well. As expected, users are able to comment on individual photos and they can also share selected images via Twitter, Facebook or E-mail. Synchronization can be deactivated at any time and up to twenty users can share one pocket. While only available on iOS at the moment, an Android version is expected to be released in January.
Upcoming Plans with SparkLabs
WePlanet was founded by Cho and co-founder Jay Mok in December 2011 and is dedicated to creating life-log services. The company originally started with a different project which was larger in scale but Cho says that they ran into some unexpected difficulties at first.
“We had talented developers and designers, but not a lot of experience in the mobile field. While working on the project it got too big and we realized that it would be hard to complete and meet the quality of service we wanted. We decided to work on one of our side projects instead and get some experience in the mobile market before continuing to work on what was our main goal.”
It was this experience which led the founders to connect with SparkLabs in October this year. The brand new accelerator has received much attention as it attempts to grow established Korean startups while providing a leg-up into the global market through various mentors and links to Silicon Valley.
“We applied for SparkLabs as we thought that it would be really good to have someone beside us giving advice and helping us, especially after running into trouble ourselves. The timing was good since we had just finished PocketShare and we are now gearing up to start again on our original project. The other startups that have been chosen are top-class and I actually think that we will be able to learn a lot, not just from mentors, but also from the other companies in the program.”
WePlanet’s upcoming project will also provide users with faster ways to document their life, but is remaining tight-lipped on details for the time being.