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Gramps and Grandma no longer have an excuse. A new Silicon Valley start-up, Presto, is offering them — and other people who shy away from doing stuff online — an easy way to download and print out photos you send them (see announcement).
Presto, based in Mountain View, has teamed up with HP, which has built a special photo printer device for the service. Presto has $10 million in funding from venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins and Clearstone.
Your online-challenged relative or friend doesn’t have to do much. Presto lets you, the savvy person, sign them up for the service. You then send your vacation photos to the person’s email account. Rather than getting online, the person simply pushes a button on their Presto device. It will then check whether there are any new photos to print out. It will be out this fall, with more details about pricing this summer.
Presto is the sixth start-up for founder and chief executive Joe Beninato (they include Roku and When.com. He’s been following the photo space since the late 1999s, when he was an early investor in online photo company, Ofoto, he says.
The photo space is overwhelmed with new, quickly formed Web 2.0 entrants. Presto, by contrast, has been working patiently for the past two years.
While we in Silicon Valley take online literacy for granted, there are more than 50 million adults over the age of 20 who are either unconnected or minimally connected to Internet life, estimates Beninato. Presto is focused for now on people who are aged 50 or older, he says.
Beninato’s mom in Chicago is an example. She can’t surf the Web. If he sends her a photo, she doesn’t know how to open it. So he decided to make it real easy.
He can set it up the account for her, picking out an email address, and choosing the appropriate font size for messages she gets on the device. He can pick out who sends to her device. The hardware device resembles an inkjet printer, and is called a “printing mailbox.” It plugs into a power outlet and a phone-jack, and it dials into Presto’s Web service regularly to check whether there are any emails with photos in them. It then prints them out automatically. Different templates can be created for the printing.
There are other companies that are trying to go after the older crowed, for example Jitterbug, which targets the cell-phone market, with big buttons and simple, clear screens.
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