Shutta, the photo-from-video app that formally launched at TechCrunch Disrupt’s Startup Alley in New York in May this year, has secured a $260,000 seed round from a small consortium of European angel investors after beating its main competitors’ growth figures hands down and on a fraction of the budget.
The app, developed single-handedly by indie developer James Shimell (in his spare time!), was well-received by visitors and fellow developers at the NY tech conference, but garnered only lukewarm attention from the press and investors at the time. Since then, and after joining forces with Bárbara Ximénez, an IT business manager with over 20 years of experience across 3 continents, the pair has taken Shutta from strength to strength.
First and foremost a tool to extract high-resolution photos from video footage, Shutta also includes a full social network, and both the clean and easy-to-use interface and the friendly user community have quickly proven to be popular around the world. In the 7 months since the formal launch the app has experienced over 100% month-on-month growth, reaching close to 150,000 downloads in 136 countries. By comparison, Vhoto – one of the apps closest in functionality to Shutta, but with 50 times the budget of the indie app – was only able to reach a similar number of downloads over its entire lifespan, before announcing a change of direction in September 2015.
Regular photo contests – Shutta Missions – have further assured that the Shutta
community is highly loyal and engaged. In each mission, users are tasked with capturing the best photo according to a specific mission brief to win cool prizes – from iPhone camera lenses to GoPro cameras. Originally employed merely as a marketing stunt for the formal launch, the Shutta Missions have proven to be popular enough for the app developers to announce that they will be including a specific Shutta Mission section within the app in the next update.
Already popular with users, the investment community sat up and took notice when Shutta was selected as a close runner-up for the Best New Startup in Vietnam at Tech in Asia’s “Road to Jakarta” competition and then featured by Apple as the number one Best New App across South East Asian countries, with the group of Irish, British, and Spanish investors ultimately able to clinch a deal.
The principal objectives for this funding round are to develop the app for Android – Shutta is currently only available on the Apple App Store – and to grow both the internal team and the Shutta user community as a whole. The funds will also be used for the development of computer-vision technologies that are focused on improving the quality of photos beyond the capability of the native mobile phone camera, always using video as a basis to achieve this.
some of the images captured by Shutta users:
Shutta is available for free in the App Store, the app requires iOS 7.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The app is optimized for iPhone 5 and above.
Author: Paul Melcher
Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur and Managing Director of Melcher System, a consultancy for visual technology firms. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo-based companies with already two successful exits.