PastBook secures new investment round and launches collaborative photo-book platform

The company announces it today from the stage of the Shell Livewire Award as one of the top innovative start-up in The Netherlands.

04 NOVEMBER 2013, AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Summary
After one year from its seed-investment, PastBook has received a new undisclosed amount of funding from a group of investors as a bridge round to Series A. The new investment will boost the development and distribution of the new product that the Company launched today: a collaborative photo-book platform the lets people collaborate to put photos together in creating keepsake book, in just a few seconds, from any device. PastBook is also opening up its technology to businesses, with white-label solutions (i.e. for weddings or funeral companies) and RESTful API integration (i.e. offering to 3rd party apps a new revenue stream with photo-book book print on demand).

The investment comes as a follow-up round from two private angel investors, who had already participated in the seed-round in September 2012, and by a private Dutch fund that lead this round. This will bring the company to round A, onto what the company is already working on.

At the beginning of June 2013, the company has seen Stefano Cutello become the sole founder when Giuseppe Prioriello, former COO, left it in an amicable way for personal reasons. During this time Stefano dealt with a possible acquisition from a US printing company, but ended up turning them down to continue focusing on the product and execution following his own vision, that is way broader than just printing.

For PastBook, who graduated from RockStart.Accelerator just last year, the new investment has secured the future development of its mission on its own, to help people relive memories. It will aid the Company in boosting the growth and distribution of the new product it is launching today: a collaborative photo-book platform that lets people collaborate to put photos together and create keepsake books, in just few seconds, from any device.

After addressing the initial problem of the fragmentation of memories between social-networks, with the claim of “Turning memories into the perfect gift” (http://hub.pastbook.com), the collaborative solution (http://collab.pastbook.com) will now focus on the fragmentation of memories between people to “Create wonderful books, together with your friends”.

Online user habits indicates that there is a genuine motivation and movement towards shared experiences; group chat and crowdsourcing online are just some examples that our virtual experiences needn’t be spent alone. The digital world has become a second chance for experiencing our lives together, and PastBook’s mission is perfectly matching this proposition.

The flow is very simple and straightforward. Create a story, and invite by email or social networks relatives and friends to participate: you’ll be all able to add text and photos by direct upload or importing them from any social networks. The result is a unique story to keep on-line or to bring off-line as a PDF or as a printed book.

The service is available for everyone on the web starting today at http://collab.pastbook.com and, thanks to its fully responsive design, it will be available immediately on mobile and tablets. Native iOS and Android apps are coming soon.

It is ideal for a group of friends and family members to explore the new group-gifting scene, allowing people to share experiences and pitch into buying one gift for a close one.

The first beta users used it in occasions of holidays, parties, team events or weddings where, for example, all the guests at the ceremony had contributed with pictures and quotes about the couple, so that they can have a keepsake photo-book of their love-story.
Another great use-case the company noticed is the “In Memoriam” book, where relatives and friends contributed with their own moments to celebrate the memory of somebody they loved who had passed away. A story like that will last forever.

With this new platform, PastBook is also opening up its technology to businesses with two models: white-label solutions for publishers, weddings and funeral companies - that will be able to provide the service under their own brand and domain without any IT resource needed - and RESTful API integrations, providing to third parties apps the possibility to create and print photo-books on demand for their users, offering so a new revenue stream for their business model.
A number of preselected Dutch and International partners are already lined up for their white label solutions. If interested, companies can have more information contacting partners@pastbook.com

Stefano Cutello, CEO of the Company says that the main differentiation to Facebook Shared Albums is that for PastBook "this is not a feature, but our core focus and mission: let people put memories together" compared to Facebook that is about "sharing and connecting everyone". PastBook sees itself as complementary service to Facebook, instead than a competitor: "people have to be connected and share their moments, but they also have to be able to easily look back".
People can use PastBook signing-in with Facebook or even just by email, import the content from any sources -Facebook included- and print or export their story in a unique, personal, experience that can also be extended and customized by the Company's partners.

Quotes
"I started PastBook to solve my own problem of relieving my own memories from the social networks I use, but then I realized that it was not enough. The new investment, the feedbacks received from the first beta users and the validation we found in approaching the first partners, make me proud of what we have achieved so far on this roller-coaster journey." Stefano Cutello, PastBook CEO
"I had lost a close friend of mine back in 2006. We were students at the time, our photos were kept online in places like MSN or MySpace, but since then, those profiles have closed down. I wish back then our group of friends could have made a photo tribute book. I currently have no image of him, except in my mind. I worry about the day that I will no longer have it there..." Sofya Garner, Beta user
"As a Master of Ceremonies of the wedding of a close friend I decided to make a memory book, with pictures and quotes of all the guests. I had done this before and still remembered the pain of having to extract the useful stuff out of a hundred PDF's, Word files, Powerpoints and Paint Bitmaps. Someone even sent me animated GIF's. This time I used PastBook, it took me just few minutes to create the book and invite people to partecipate. In few days I had a stunning book automatically filled with photos an comment from everybody. What a relieve! " Bas Van der Laan, Beta user
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About PastBook

About the company: https://www.pastbook.com

Founded in 2012 in Amsterdam, as part of RockStart Accelerator (https://www.rockstart.com), PastBook has been named one of the ‘Hottest startup’s in Amsterdam” by Wired, nominated as “Rising Star” by Deloitte (Fast50) and listed as one of the “Top 5 Fastest Growing Tech Companies” by TheNextWeb (Tech5). It has also been featured by Facebook as Success Story.

PastBook is on a mission to help people preserve and relive memories, that are nowadays scattered between social networks and devices, by offering the most frictionless experience to create a beautiful photo book in seconds.

PastBook’s Intelligent Instant Photo Book platform automatically and intelligently selects the best photos from designated and instantly arranges them into a beautiful photo book, ready to be printed.



About the founder

Stefano Cutello – CEO
Former technical leader and scrum master at eBay Italy and entrepreneur since the age of 18, he came up with the idea of creating PastBook when browsing through a family photo album with his father. Having realized that he would not be able to recollect his own memories saved all over the Internet so easily, he decided to provide a platform for that.

In order to fully commit to the idea, he quit his job at eBay, relocated to Amsterdam, while having put all of his property in Italy for sale: his car, his motorbike and his house too.

Agile by definition, passionate about everything that has to do with technology, lateral thinker and an innate product developer. His motto: "hard work is the way to success".

http://www.linkedin.com/in/stefanocutello

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