December 22, 2013
How sure are you that your idea will become a success? Are you $1.5 million-sure?
When George Castineiras envisioned his app, Momentage, he knew he was onto something great. In fact, he was so sure of his idea, he invested $1.5 million of his own funds to get his venture off the ground.
Momentage is a photo-sharing app that is becoming popular with professional photographers and proud parents alike. Users can create a collage of up to 15 images with Momentage, and they can share special moments with followers in real-time and continue editing and rearranging the collaboration to create a unique, “living” collage. In other words, Momentage lets you change your photo display as your life changes.
I know what you’re thinking: Another photo app? Well, yes … but this isn’t just your run-of-the-mill photo-sharing app.
Castineiras puts it like this:
“Most photo/video sharing apps are visual communication apps that serve a purpose in a world where seeing and being seen as well as immediacy and authenticity in communication is the new norm. The sheer magnitude of the information we all receive each day requires the ability to take it in and absorb it quickly. Momentage provides an experience that enriches the communication with video and SoundImagesTM and supplies both the creator and the receiver with significantly more context. Said another way, we offer books and not dictionaries.”
Books, not dictionaries – to me, that sounds realistic, as it relates to the way we actually share our photos. It’s a great idea, but I was still curious about Castineiras’ rock-solid faith in his product. So, I asked him how and when he knew he was onto something amazing.
“Three things gave it away,” he said.
“1). My wife and children loved Momentage! This meant to me that its appeal crossed demographic barriers.
2). I was offered $250,000 for the idea back before it was even technologically feasible. I filed intellectual property dating back to 2006, knowing that it was an idea ahead of its time but that its day would come.
3). When the number of people that wanted to join the company were far greater than the number I needed. This includes people willing to drop high paying jobs and other startup ventures that were much further along. Again, this showed me Momentage’s attraction to people across multiple demographics.”
All of this sounds like Momentage was meant to be. But $1.5M is a lot of money to risk, even on a promising idea. So, I had to flat-out ask Castineiras, “Why are you self-funding, rather than using traditional funding paths?”
“I have a vision that goes well beyond what people currently perceive to simply be a photo/video sharing app,” said Castineiras. “Reducing my equity exposure does not make sense right now unless a partner comes along that is very strategic.”
Fair enough. What do you think of Castineiras’ 1.5 million-dollar idea? You can check out Momentage on iOS; it’s not available for Android at this time.
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