Photo startup Everpix is shutting down.
After two years of blood, sweat, and infinite photo storage, the company can no longer sustain itself and is going under.
“It’s frustrating (to say the least) that we cannot continue to work on Everpix,” Everpix said on its site. “We were unable to secure sufficient funding in order to properly scale the business, and our endeavors to find a new home for Everpix did not come to pass. At this point, we have no other options but to discontinue the service.”
Everpix launched in 2011 with the promise of storing all your digital photos in the cloud. It browsed your computer and applications, like Facebook and Gmail, for photos, and automatically uploaded all of them to its servers.
But the company’s vision extended beyond storage. Cofounder and CEO Pierre-Olivier Latour told VentureBeat in an interview last year that the team was focusing on building a robust, fully-featured platform rather than accumulating as many users as possible.
“We want to build the future of platforms for photos,” he said. ““It’s a very ambitious project, and it comes with a number of challenges, from financing and technical, to building the apps, designing the user experience, and managing the load. They’re interesting challenges because we’re not building an app like Instagram where you would use it every single day; we’re mostly looking at weekly active users.”
Everpix worked hard to develop tools and features that would help people deal with their “photo mess” and love their photos again.
The technology could hide “bad photos” that were blurry and poorly shot, and identify objects, scenery, and other details for easier categorization. Everpix also highlighted interesting photos and grouped together similar shots.
The startup launched the second version of its platform in June 2013, along with new iPhone and iPad apps. The business worked on a freemium model, where unlimited access to photos cost $5 a month or $49 a year.
Despite the team’s best efforts, a solid product, and $2.3 million from Index Ventures, 500 Startups, Kii Capital, and 2020 Ventures, Everpix couldn’t stay afloat.
The Verge did a deep dive into what went wrong with Everpix, and it ultimately boiled down to slow growth — the company didn’t have enough paying subscribers or investment money to continue operating.
An impending bill from Amazon Web Serviecs, estimated at $35,000, precipitated the decision to fold.
Everpix’s 55,000 users did not drive enough revenue to pay its bills, keep the service running, and pay employees salaries. Venture capitalists, who generally want to see strong growth before making follow-on investments, weren’t interested in writing big checks, and various acquisition discussions from Path, Facebook, and Dropbox never amounted to anything. Furthermore giants like Apple, Google, and Yahoo’s Flickr offer Everpix alternatives.
Everpix had a 4.5 star rating out of 1,000 reviews and strong return and subscription rates, but it wasn’t enough.
Today the service switches to a read-only mode. Photos will no longer sync to Everpix, no new photos can be added to accounts, and operations that modify photos will be disabled. Everpix is pledging to refund every subscriber the pro-rated cost of their subscription.
Startup shutdowns are always tinged with sadness and musings on lessons learned. This news comes amidst rumors that self-destructing photo app Snapchat is nearing a $4 billion valuation. Beyond focusing on photos, Everpix and Snapchat have little in common, but the stark contrast between the failure of one and the wild success of another is a reminder that building a great product isn’t enough, and sometimes talented, hardworking, passionate entrepreneurs fail.