Cooliris Raises $9.6M, Gets Social With Mobile Photo-Sharing App
Cooliris, which makes tools to help people consume media on the Web and various devices, is changing focus with a new flagship product that’s about sharing photos rather than browsing through them.
The company has a not-too-shabby 35 million downloads to date of its Wall product, and is the default media gallery for Google’s Android. But now it’s venturing out into the oh-so-hot mobile media-sharing space (see: Instagram, Path, Picplz) with a photo app called LiveShare–for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7 and the Web–that’s focused on groups.
Cooliris is also announcing today that it’s raised $9.6 million in Series C funding from investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (which also recently backed Path), Deutsche Telekom’s T-Venture, DAG Ventures and the Westly Group. The five-year-old Palo Alto-based company has now raised a total of $28.6 million and employs 45 people.
Cooliris’s new LiveShare app helps users create photo streams for a particular event or group of people. Everyone who is invited to a stream can share photos, taken on a phone or elsewhere. Cooliris CEO Soujanya Bhumkar said that he thinks this “hyperpersonalized” approach fits with how people think about sharing: With respect to the four aspects of space, time, interests and relationships.
What does that actually mean? While Path pushes users to identify their closest 50 friends for intimate sharing of personal photos and videos, LiveShare gives users the option of sharing with whoever is appropriate for any context.
There are many alternatives to LiveShare, especially for Apple’s iOS platform. Will users want to install yet another app because of its particular set of nifty features and the flexibility of its sharing options? Perhaps not, but people seem to increasingly utilize tools to segment their online identities, so LiveShare could become part of that trend.
There’s also competition from the social Web giant Facebook, which provides a similar way to filter its Web site based on designated friend groups (though it has not disclosed how popular the product is with users). LiveShare, like many social apps, gets its friend network information from users plugging into Facebook.
But Cooliris isn’t starting from scratch with this product. For instance, the company is making use of its existing relationship with Google, so LiveShare will be incorporated into Android’s Gallery. But with nearly $30 million raised, expectations for LiveShare will be very, very high.