StreamNation, a media-focused cloud locker service, is the latest company looking to expand its reach by branching out a single feature into a separate mobile app.
One of the biggest obstacles the startup faces is that most consumers are still more attracted to using well-established competing cloud storage services (Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc.) — all of whom have far more resources for marketing and user acquisition. That’s part of why StreamNation decided to single-out mobile photo storage via its new Shutter app for iOS that launched last week, founder and CEO Jonathan Benassaya said in an interview with VentureBeat.
“The hope is that we show people that they don’t have to make sacrifices with… [the media they created] and own,” Benassaya told me. “Photos are a good way to do that.”
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The most visible examples of the complimentary app strategy comes from Facebook, which has operated a standalone mobile messaging app for years and also launched a separate news reader app called Paper back in January. Foursquare, too, is experimenting with complimentary apps with Swarm, which focuses on checking in to various locations.
But StreamNation isn’t concerned with being a social tool, nor does it incorporate a lot of public sharing functionality within its service. Still, the standalone app strategy may be successful for the startup by pulling in just the users who are only seeking a better solution for their photos.
To do that it needs to at least match the competition, which it does a decent job of. Shutter gives users unlimited photo storage, a set of photo filters, and the ability to share on other networks. It’s biggest selling point is that you aren’t eating up all the storage on your phone. You can go in and set a number of photos to stay on the device locally, or a set data size (2Gb-worth of photos, for instance).
If people enjoy the photo service, they may end up finding more value when navigating to the overall StreamNation service.
“We’re doing this to pull in new people, but also it was done as a sort of stress test for our new API,” Benassaya said. He added that the API will allow StreamNation to utilize its Shutter strategy without having to section off each feature of the overall service.
Time will tell if the standalone mobile app strategy proves successful across the industry, but anyone interested in following the discussion should checkout next week’s MobileBeat 2014 fireside chat with LinkedIn VP of mobile Joff Redfern, who plans to discuss “the opportunities & growing pains of a multi-app strategy.”
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