Did you believe that disposable cameras were a relic of the past, like VCRs or overhead projectors (which began to disappear around the same time)? Think again. This photo sharing app, designed to mimic a disposable camera, has more than 2.5 million downloads.
Dispo is turning the ‘down with disposable cameras’ trend on its head. The app aims to be the 21st century version of a film-based single-use clicker. With the Dispo app, as with disposable cameras, you have to wait until the following day to see your photos. The app also alerts users when photos are ‘ready’.
What’s the appeal?
A popular feature of the app enables multiple people to take photos on the same “camera roll”, as might have occurred in a different era, when people actually passed around disposable cameras at parties. Once the photos are taken, you get what you get. The filters and eye-popping editing tools of Instagram are non-existent.
This is the alternative to taking a perfect selfie. “You never looked at the picture, you never checked the lighting,” said David Dobrik, the app’s creator. “You just went on with your day, and in the morning you got to relive it.”
App users can also engage with friends, family and new communities on the app through likes, shares and by adding to photos or photo collections.
Dispo’s beta testing
The app began beta testing just over a week ago. Despite the short shelf life, Dispo is garnering extensive attention.
It’s worth a mention that the app is invite-only. Many of those who like Clubhouse are clamoring to try it out.
Dispo, a purple unicorn?
Another facet of the app that contributes to its uniqueness is the emphasis on collaboration. Everyone can look for “the same thing through their own lens,” stated one user.
“Dispo has been designed intentionally as community-first. I’ve loved seeing people’s creativity come back to life – most of that creativity sparking from people reacting to each other, taking turns evolving the narrative of what a roll is for, and exploring different ways to build on top of what the other is doing,” says Dispo’s Head of Design, Briana Hokanson.
Will the collaborative element become competitive? Will friends secretly try to best their buddies? Only time will tell.
The company is rooted in the US and is in the process of expanding internationally. The eight-person start-up team intends to open an office in Japan. The lightning fast growth has attracted the attention of venture capitalists, who are eager to contribute to the company.
In October, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s firm, Seven Seven Six, pitched in with $4 million. After the app appeared in beta, Dispo raised $20 million in Series A funding.
Watch out Instagram. For more on Dispo’s debut, visit The New York Times.