PhotoVu – Ceiva++ for geeks

snipshot_841k8aaxm4av.jpgFounder Mark Van Buskirk showed PhotoVu at the New Tech Meetup tonight. It’s a wireless, web-enabled custom digital photo frame capable of receiving and beautifully displaying photo streams. I’d describe it as just like Ceiva, but targeted at photo-centric geeks (sometimes called Mac users) instead of grandmas.

“There is so much power in digital photography, but it’s not being utilized. Photos are stuck on your hard drive.” – Founder Mark Van Buskirk.

PhotoVu is 4 years old, and is selling over $1M a year in frames at this point, growing at about 3x per year. They’re starting to roll, and are considering taking outside capital to scale the business.

PhotoVu is definitely a premium product, selling for $1,000 and up. Geeks like me will love it, because it can consume photostreams from PhotoBucket or Flickr just as easily as from your desktop. Photos can be streamed to the device rather than uploaded, which I have to say is just cool.

What is not cool is the web user interface that is used to configure and send streams to the device. It’s downright ugly. But it seems very functional and can easily be cleaned up with some focus. The PhotoVu web site gives you the same “two guys in a basement” feeling. But, that’s more or less what they are, so you can’t really fault them for that. Stronger UI and ease of use would go a long way – most of the market PhotoVu is trying to reach really cares about aesthetics after all.

My favorite question was when Robert Reich of Me.dium asked Mark if PhotoVu was a software or a hardware company. Mark leaned towards hardware, but like many similar players it may find that the true value lies in the unique and powerful software that makes PhotoVu go.

file under: Blog, Startups