RRE Investor Adam Ludwin Has Decided To Start A Company, Albumatic, In The Most Crowded Space Ever

Business Insider Feb 21, 2013 Back to press

Adam Ludwin sees a lot of startups as a principal at RRE, a venture capital firm that's invested in companies like Moda Operandi, Makerbot, Braintree and Business Insider

As such, he sees broad trends in entrepreneurship; he knows what every founder is working on, which spaces are the most crowded, and which types of startups investors are looking to financially back.

Two of the biggest trends right now are: 

  • Social photo and video apps -- Think Viddy, SocialCam, Cinemagram and Snapchat. All emerged as Instagram was getting acquired for $1 billion and Pinterest was receiving a billion-dollar valuation.
  • Reinventing the iPhone's default apps -- Instagram re-invented the Camera app and found success. Spotify is often used instead of Apple's "Music." Evernote is a good alternative to "Notes," the new Mailbox app is preferred to "Mail" and apps like Sunrise and Fantastical are better than "Calendar."

Ludwin founded two companies prior to joining RRE, and now he's trying his hand at another one. He's co-founding an iPhone app with a friend from Los Angeles, Devon Gundry.

And guess what? 

  • It's a social photo app called Albumatic
  • It's trying to smother one of Apple's default apps, "Photos."

"I really don't want to like another photo app," I told Ludwin as I looked at the app. He laughed and said, "Neither do I."

But as I stalked recent photos of CrunchFund's MG Siegler on a trip to Cabo with his girlfriend, I found myself warming to Albumatic.

Albumatic is a social, beautifully-designed alternative to Apple's "Photos," an album app most people forget they have on their iPhones. Ludwin calls Albumatic an "organizational layer" for photos, separating them by event, location, and featured people.

"There were seven or eight of us all taking photos of Devon's new baby," Ludwin explained Albumatic's origins. "All together we had taken 100 photos, but they were all siloed in each others' devices. There are endless places to share photos -- via text message, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter -- but there's no good, social way to bulk combine camera rolls and image galleries."

When you join Albumatic, it helps you find other users on Facebook, in your contact list, or nearby via the iPhone's GPS. From then on, when you and a friend are near each other, you can create and join albums together.

No invites codes are sent back and forth; friends see albums as you create them through push notifications, and they can either "watch" it if they aren't nearby, or they can join the album if they're witnessing the same event. Like Instagram, people can favorite or comment on photos.

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