Hipstamatic is set to unveil a partnership with Instagram that allows photos taken on the camera app, which enables users to snap professional-looking pictures with stylized films and vintage-era lenses, to be ported directly into Instagram’s network with just one click. It represents the first time Instagram has opened up this platform API to third parties, and marks a move toward letting photos freely flow into Instagram’s network from outside sources.
“When we launched, it was all about Facebook and Flickr and Twitter, and now we’re seeing a huge shift in our user base toward Instagram,” says Hipstamatic cofounder and CEO Lucas Buick. “We’ve never been a social networking company, but we clearly benefit from social networks. So this will be the first app outside of Instagram that lets you into their network. That’s pretty cool for us.”
On Instagram, the photo will appear with attribution: Taken with Hipstamatic.
“Really it all comes down to this: People post Hipstamatic photos on Instagram all the time, and we just want to make that experience easier,” says Instagram CEO and cofounder Kevin Systrom. “It’s a step in the direction that we’re testing out. We’ve been very careful about making sure that Instagram photos are about what’s happening right now in your life, and we want to allow for more of those photos to end up on Instagram regardless of where they’re taken.”
For Instagram, the partnership provides the network with access to Hipstamatic’s high-quality content creators–a photography community of 4 million users who upload 48 million photos per month. (Hipstamatic boasts photojournalists such as the New York Times‘ Damon Winter, who used the service to win a Pictures of the Year International prize; the startup also partners with brands, such as Nike and Vogue, to feature custom lenses.)
They share a lean-startup philosophy, too, with each company having only about a dozen employees. And they’re also both seeing early signs of big success, though from different perspectives: Instagram is said to be on the verge of raising a $40 million funding round at a $500 million valuation; Hipstamatic, on the other hand, has not raised a dime of VC funding, but has been profitable since its second week. Last year, Hipstamatic generated about $10 million in revenue. (more at Fast Company)
Why I’m curious:
What’s piquing my curosity here are two photo apps, but different engagement and core business models. I am interested in learning more about brands can work both photosharing platforms. Tiffany’s launched a branded gallery through Instagram’s open API, while the indie band The Virgens asked fans to submit and tag their photos during London’s summer music festivals and used Instagram’s open API to build a dedicated photo gallery. For brands that want to leverage the Instagram audience–they tend to be highly connected, have a creative point of view, are iPhone income earners, and use technology to express themselves. Brands can leverage this audience in a smart way as long as they think about ways to draw a natural relationship with the brand and platform, and offer a memorable experience.