With billions of people now on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, the shift from public to private networks is undeniable. And that’s why this new tech startup has seen phenomenal success as thousands of users turn to its new camera app.
Lapse is a London-based tech startup co-founded by two brothers: Ben and Dan Silvertown. Today, Lapse announced the launch of its social disposable camera app that lets you capture the magic of pre-digital photos. Backed by $1.4 million in seed funding, the app lets close groups recreate the magic of old-school disposable cameras by taking 36 snaps to ‘rolls’ in private group chats. 24 hours after the first shot is taken, the roll is revealed.
There’s already incredible demand for Lapse. The app has seen more than 150,000 pre-orders on the iOS App Store. To control the demand, Lapse is launching invite-only.
“Lapse is for everybody but while we launch we’re focusing on photographers and the creative community. We’re remaining laser-focused on our power users who are taking 50-100 photos per week to their groups, rather than getting distracted by onboarding more people for the sake of vanity metrics,” says Dan Silvertown.
The strategy seems to be paying off. “We’ve had people sending us screenshots of profiles they’ve seen on dating apps that feature photos taken on Lapse,” says Dan. “We’ve had people telling us they’ve seen people in front of them at festivals taking photos on Lapse, or strangers coming up to them in clubs and recognizing them having Lapse open.”
The concept of Lapse has naturally led to comparisons with the app founded by David Dobrik, Dispo. “Fundamentally we’re addressing different needs,” says Dan. “Dispo is a public, many-to-many platform similar to Instagram. It’s about showing off your photography in exchange for likes and followers. Lapse is focused on creating a space for private, chat-based sharing between friends.”
Lapse was co-founded by brothers Ben and Dan Silvertown. The $1.4m funding round—closed in a remarkable four days—was led by Speedinvest, with participation from Atomico (via its angel program’s Sameer Singh), and other angel investors.
The shift from public to private networks is undeniable
“Social networks started with the goal of connecting the world. But when everyone is connected, broadcasters and influencers drown out real, personal connections. This is where Lapse comes in,” says investor Sameer Singh of Atomico’s angel program. “By restricting interactions to curated groups of friends — people you actually know — Lapse is re-introducing the social graph and authenticity to photo sharing. This isn’t an easy feat to pull off. It requires a deep understanding of the product, culture, and social dynamics. And that’s exactly what Ben and Dan bring to the table. They have a history of tapping into human psychology to create truly viral projects.”
The brothers’ track record of viral products include Dan’s ‘Lockdown Haircut’ service in 2020 which connected people to barbers over Zoom for virtual haircuts to raise money for charity, and Ben’s GifGoat, which drove over 35,000 young people to register to vote in 2016. Both received mainstream media attention.
The new funding will be used to further develop the product. “We want to become the place people capture and share meaningful moments with friends and family, and to become the custodian of all these memories,” says co-founder Ben Silvertown.
“I remember when weddings had disposable cameras at every table,” says Jeroen Arts, partner at Speedinvest. “Developing the film and seeing what shots were taken days or weeks later made the day even more special. Lapse is using technology to bring back the suspense of documenting everything from our daily lives to major milestones with the people we love. It’s no wonder there’s already such high demand. We’re excited to develop the future of photography along with Ben, Dan, and their team.” Lapse is available to download for free today on the iOS App Store.