Dispo, a new photo-sharing app that mimics the experience of using a disposable camera, is developing. People are calling for beta test invitations. Its early adopters are praising its social features. And investors are betting big on its future.
In the app, users frame the photo through a small rectangular viewfinder. No editing or annotation tools; When the image “grows” – ie displayed on your phone at 9am the next day – you get what you get. Multiple people can take pictures on the same roll, which can happen with a real disposable camera at a party.
David Dobrik, a YouTube star and app founder, said: “When I often go to parties with my friends, they put disposable cameras all over the house and they urge people to take pictures all night. “In the morning, they will collect all the cameras and review the footage and say, ‘What happened last night?’” (He uses one word to emphasize.)
He and his friends loved the randomness of scrolling through fleeting and forgotten moments. “It should be like the end of ‘The Hangover’ each morning,” said Dobrik, 24, who began posting his growing photos to a dedicated Instagram account in June of this year. 2019 and quickly attracted millions of followers Other influencers and celebrities, including Tana Mongeau and Gigi Hadid, soon started their own “disposable” accounts; they followed.
Catching the trend, Mr. Dobrik has sought to re-create the disposable camera experience digitally, as an antidote to the obsession of getting the perfect shot. “You have never looked at the picture, you have never checked the lighting,” he says of the disposable use of utensils. “You just went on with your day, and in the morning you have to relive it.”
In December 2019, he introduced a photo app called David’s Disposable, through which people can take nostalgic-style photos that have “evolved” overnight. The first part of it shows that this model has greater potential. So over the course of a year, it was developed into Dispo, a social network that officially started beta testing with the public last Friday.
Although the latest version of Dispo has only been released to the public for less than a week, it has made a big splash. The app climbed to the rankings in Apple’s App Store this week. Dispo-themed discussion rooms have appeared on the Clubhouse. YouTube users are sharing reviews, invitation scoring tips, and growth tips. Just like VSCO created the VSCO girl, Dispo created a set of “Dispo boys”. Some pictures from Dispo have even been released to the online art market in the form of NFT, or “indestructible token”.
Users of the beta version of the app praised its limitations. Goldie Chan, 38, founder of Warm Robots, a social strategy agency in Los Angeles, said: “I feel like the photos are simpler. “Apps like Clubhouse have a lot of noise, literally. When you have something like Dispo or VSCO, you just need to take a picture. You can snap a moment in time and let it pass. “
The shift away from highly managed feeds has been around for several years. In 2019, the rise of “related” YouTube users like Emma Chamberlain helped pioneer the goofy and careless style of editing that became the default for Generation Z. And throughout 2020, TikTok has created a new wave of creators who are more focused on personality than on perfection.
Rex Woodbury, a principal at Index Ventures, recently wrote: “Instagram filters in 2011 make people beautiful, TikTok filters by 2021 make people ugly.” “And where Instagram gives you filters to make your bad photos look better, Dispo purposefully makes your beautiful photos look worse.”
Anyha Garcia, a 31-year-old home mother in Utah, started using Dispo a week ago. She is a fan of its simplicity. “I don’t have to sit around and crop or modify it,” she said. “I take a picture, and hope it turns out. I can go back and review it later instead of looking at it now and doing these corrections, or worrying about taking 10 to 12 more photos of what I’m trying to capture. “
People have also looked at the app’s collaboration. “Insta has turned everyone into a photographer in general. Dispo makes you a purposeful photographer, ”said Terry O’Neal, 31, the brand manager in Los Angeles, who has been using the app already. He created some color-themed camera scrolls and asked other users to help him find suitable subjects for each theme. “It’s a community building, everyone is looking for the same thing through their own lens,” he said.
Luke Yun, 31, director of social media in Los Angeles, said: “What’s important for Dispo is the co-operative rolls. “Everyone is looking for ways to create together. It was like an innate contest to create each other in these community scrolls that I have never seen on any social network before ”.
While Dispo’s photo has no captions, the comments on the collaborative camera scrolls can be very animated. There are videos where people are invited to guess the story behind each picture or comment with the lyrics they feel matches the mood of the image. Another scroll featured handwritten notes to spark conversation.
The social network has dodged the spam growth attack culture that often popped up on early-stage apps, and the Easter eggs in its display have poked at a person’s obsession with increasing stats. Mr. Dobrik, for example, appears to have 69 million followers and photos and 420 likes on Dispo.
However, small collectives of creators have emerged. “I have created a book called Dispo Hype Group, where we will add people and accept everyone’s invitations,” Ms. Garcia said. The group, consisting of about 40 people, hopes to hold an IRL meeting when it is safe.
Dispo has begun to expand internationally, especially in Japan, where the company plans to open an office. Although it’s only an eight-person company right now, the startup’s rapid expansion has made it an attractive target for venture capitalists.
During a seed funding round in October, led by Reddit’s co-founder Seven Seven Six, Dispo raised $ 4 million. This week, the company raised $ 20 million at a $ 200 million valuation in a Series A funding round led by Spark Capital, according to Axios. Dispo has also held talks with other major joint ventures, including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Benchmark, according to The Information.
As the app continues to evolve, Dispo’s leaders have expressed a commitment to ensuring that the app remains an open and secure space for users. Daniel Liss, 32, CEO of Dispo said: “Trust and safety are extremely important to us and will be a constant focus,” said Daniel Liss, 32, Chief Operating Officer. “It is not enough to say that we do not have a belief and safety viewpoint,” said Dispo. For our community and shareholders, that is unacceptable. “
“That was the position I was hiring for before any investor asked me about it because it was important to me, David and our team,” he added.
While there will always be competition and imitation, Mr. Dobrik believes what Dispo has to offer is something that photo filters cannot replicate.
“When you see a disposable photo, you know it’s a real photo and it’s not been manipulated or put together,” he said. “It just happened and it was captured. That’s what makes it so interesting ”.