Zapd Aims for the Big Leagues With Web Publishing Mobile App (Plus Video)

Seattle-based Pressplane has launched its latest creation, called Zapd, an iPhone application that allows you to build a Web site from the phone in 60 seconds.

Earlier this week, I had the rare opportunity of sitting down with both the CEO Kelly Smith and Chairman Mika Salmi, who were in Seattle before heading to Silicon Valley’s Sand Hill Road in search of fresh capital. Smith works out of the company’s Seattle office and lives in Seattle, but Salmi lives in Barcelona.

On Monday, the two were absolutely buzzing about the application’s initial reception–which included 50,000 downloads–and that their application has already been featured by Apple since launching last week. “We are super pleased. It’s an obvious application, and we are really happy,” Smith said.

Zapd expects to make building Web sites exceedingly easy from the mobile phone, which is increasingly becoming people’s way to communicate. Subjects for Zapd’s already include such things as a dog that needs adopting; a man who went a whole day without shoes; and a wedding journal.

To make a site, users pick from one of the 21 background themes provided, and then upload photos and text. Zapd auto-generates a URL using the domain at Zapd.co, and the Web site is ready to go. The site is automatically viewable from a mobile phone, an iPad and a PC.

Salmi, who is the former CEO of Atom Films, and Smith, both believe they have come up with a better alternative to other applications, such as Path, Tumblr, Instagram, Posterous, or even the well-funded startup Color.

What’s especially advantageous is that the company has raised $410,000, unlike Color, which is in a similar vein, but has secured a jaw-dropping $41 million, but so far has had a questionable launch. Investors in Zapd include the who’s who of angel investing in Seattle, including Mike Slade, Nick Hanauer, Pete Higgins, Rich Barton, Erik Blachford, John Cunningham and others.

Smith said next up for the four-employee company is adding new features, such as the ability to comment on sites and creating an Android application.

Smith also envisions adding the ability to create group sites, where a Web site can be built around a specific event, like a sport. Fans from the stands would be able to upload pictures and make comments from multiple perspectives.

Smith’s company Pressplane also is operating other entrepreneurial ventures, such as Inkd.com, which is a marketplace for graphic design. Although Inkd is profitable, now that Zapd has taken off so quickly, they are thinking about selling that business and swinging for the fences.

The application is definitely not proven, and it’s in its early days, but the enthusiasm is undeniable.

Here’s a video of the two very animated entrepreneurs:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work