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Photo app Lapse raises $30M Series A

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Feb 27, 2024
Illustration of a disposable camera made from money.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Lapse has raised $30 million in Series A funding, co-founder Dan Silvertown tells Axios, as the photo app invests in product updates.

Why it matters: The investment underscores investor interest in new social media apps, despite tough competition with TikTok and Instagram.

How it works: Lapse lets people take and share photos that are filtered like film. Like Snapchat, it opens to the camera. There's a scrollable feed of photos from friends, which users can react to with emoji and text, and a separate feed of publicly featured photos.

  • "It's a shared disposable camera for friends," Silvertown says.
  • Dan's brother, Ben, was inspired to build Lapse after using a point-and-shoot film camera while backpacking in Vietnam in 2019. They launched the app in 2021. The London-based startup has a team of 18.
  • App downloads grew rapidly in part by requiring users to invite people before they could access the app. It hit No. 1 in Apple's App Store in the U.S. and UK last year.

By the numbers: Usage peaked at 100 million moments captured monthly, per the company. Dan says Lapse has millions of users but declined to elaborate.

Reality check: Apps with disposable camera vibes aren't new. Instagram started that way. Dispo blew up in 2021.

💭 Kerry's thought bubble: I joined Lapse in November, but haven't felt the need to post when I'm constantly sharing photos on Snapchat, Instagram and in text groups.

  • My friend Brian Moore, an active user, says Lapse's darkroom makes the content feel more authentic than what's on social media.

Catch up quick: Lapse raised a $1.4 million pre-seed round led by Speedinvest in 2021 and a $11 million seed round co-led by Octopus Ventures and GV later that year.

Zoom in: Greylock and DST Global Partners co-led the Series A, which closed in December. Existing investors Octopus Ventures, GV and Speedinvest participated.

  • They were joined by ex-Pinterest Naveen Gavini, software designer Soleio, ex-Snap Nima Khajehnouri and ex-Uber Praveen Murugesan.
  • Greylock partner Jacob Andreou, formerly of Snap, joined the board. He tells Axios his interest stemmed from the co-founders' expertise in design and business and their focus on "long-term retention."

What's next: Lapse is hiring more engineers and technical staff. An Android app is not on the near-term roadmap.

  • The app doesn't make money. Future plans likely involve subscriptions, Dan says, noting the value around memories people are storing exclusively in Lapse.
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