Worth Trying: Post it with Style via the Pictual App
If you are a hardcore social media poster and can’t wait to post your every thought to the world, here is an image messaging app that will not only help you express yourself but do it in visual style. The Pictual iPhone app combines your thoughts with cool graphics and visuals provided by professional designers.
You start with entering what is on your mind and then add a few tags to describe it. The app then automatically combines your text with a choice of high-end graphic visuals for you to post to your social networks. It’s a lot like a clean version of Whisper but with ad quality graphics minus the disturbing commentary.
Launched just under a month ago, it’s still very early but it’s definitely worth a try and the founders would love the feedback. Co-founder Isidora Valdés was gracious enough to fill us in on the details of their business. Please let us know what you think.
Pictual is available for download from Apple iTunes now.
What is your elevator pitch?
Pictual is a beautiful, intelligent and simple picture-messaging app that uses design-magic to transform your words into pictures that encapsulate your mood, personality and emotion. Within seconds, Pictual will give your words a creative point-of-view that is distinctly yours. There is no need to learn complex photo-editing programs or design softwares; in seconds you can produce something that will impress everyone around you.
What is your founding story?
Chintan Intwala came to MIT Sloan School of Management to get his MBA, it was the perfect time and place being within the MIT entrepreneurship environment to give his idea a chance. Isidora Valdés´s husband (chintan´s classmate) heard Chintan pitching in one of their classes and told Isidora about the idea and he introduced them. Isidora was looking forward to join a startup where she could pour all her passion and previous experience, she felt in love with the idea of Pictual. With the perfect recipe for business, software development and design, Pictual came to life!
Who is your target market?
Currently, we are targeting regular social-media users and individuals with visually creative tendencies. While our product has a very mass-market appeal, we are experimenting first with this beachhead demographic first.
What is your business model?
We are currently using an “Adoption First” strategy and want to keep the consumer experience as close to free as possible. Streams of revenue when Pictual is at scale include, usage-based subscription fee, in-app purchases mobile advertising, branded ad-campaigns, selling keywords (or user sentiment/intent) and partnerships with merchandize providers and watermark-free content license for B2B marketers.
What milestones can you share?
Having in mind that we are a bootstrap startup, with no funding yet…. I can share some initial numbers…
- Launch date 10 of February
- We hit the top 10 (8th place) in less than 72 hours un Chile in our category (photo & video)
- more than 10.000 pictuals shared around the world
- we are in more than 70 countries
I can´t give more details on our numbers but after doing an extensive market research (on the market we are), if we take that space as a benchmark we are doing much better that a lot of other picture-messaging apps. I can tell you that the app is being downloaded on a daily basis, and that that number is growing everyday. But we know is not just about downloads, when it comes to active users that are using the app the numbers are really good as well, we are getting traction and great reviews on the app, you can see pictuals on facebook, twitter (a great tool for it!), instagram, WhatsApp. Our users are happy and we are very excited about that.
Who is on the founding team?
Chintan Intwala has extensive experience working at Adobe Photoshop and Disney deploying innovative products. Over the course of his experiences, Pictual was born out of the need to bridge the creative gap between creative professionals (accounting for less than 2% of population) and the rest of the world with latent creativity and little to no access to creativity tools, beautiful design (not just graphics), and ultimately designers for professional services.
He has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley. Currently, he is an MBA candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to business school, he worked at Adobe Photoshop for over 7 years where he conceptualized and developed creative imaging solutions. Recently he worked at Disney deploying digital-media powered consumer-web solutions. He holds 18+ patents.
Isidora Valdés, entrepreneur by nature, after working as a graphic designer for a design agency back in Chile, where she mastered the principles of graphic design and communications, she was hired by the Innovation Club Chile as their Business Development Manager, where she designed new products and services, their corporate branding, developed their online community, establishing an online presence through social media, design and execute marketing initiatives and handled client and public relations. In addition, she became involved in consultancy firm dedicated to business model innovations contributing with new methods and tools. Based on this experience, Isidora decided to pack her skills and vision and bring these into one place: Goose, her own Branding, Marketing and Web Design Studio. She came to the US because her husband got accepted in the same program than Chintan at MIT. She expanded Goose to the US and joined Pictual.
She studied Integral Design at Pontificia Universidad Católica of Chile (equivalent of a BS in Fine Arts + MA in Graphic Design) and has a Minor in Business Management from the Business School at Universidad de Chile.
How did you build it? Did you outsource any of your product or design or build it all in house?
Everything was built in house, from our first demo to the final app, all the UI, our brand and our content. Even our website and promotional videos.
What has been your biggest challenge?
For a long time getting the app into the AppStore looked like the biggest challenge, but to be honest that is only the start. Now we are live and we must have a voice, show what makes us unique, engage our users, listen to them, improve our product with their feedback in order to deliver the best experience ever. We are an app that creates content, we need to keep up the quality of it and grow our database. All these thing are a huge challenges when you are in an overcrowded market.
Check out some images that I created using the app.