My friend Hans Hartman, president of Suite48 Analytics, emailed me the other day to give me some news about mobile photo app provider BeFunky. I suggested he share his thoughts with you, too, with a guest editor post. He writes:
I have a soft spot for BeFunky.
First, they are the developers of a photo editing web service and mobile photo apps, founded in Turkey. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time in Turkey in the past and have come to love the country, in particular its citizens. And how many high tech companies really have their roots in Turkey? (Half the team moved to San Francisco early last year, abandoning the Bosporus for the Golden Gate).
Second, I’m intrigued by teens’ use of photos. In the early 2000s I was co-founder of Piczo, a teen photo-sharing site that grew exponentially for a long time – before these highly engaged and photo-crazy teens moved en masse to the next big thing, which was Beboo.
BeFunky serves a similar young audience: 64% of their users are between 15-24; 83% are under 35. Overall, BeFunky now has 13 million users, of which 2 M were registered through their web service and 11M through their iOS and Android apps.
In our Photo/Video Apps Market Analysis January Report BeFunky ranked 19th among the free iPhone photo app downloads in the US and 46th among the free Android photo apps.
More than BeFunky’s current usage, their exponential growth is most remarkable:
At this point, BeFunky users generate more than 50M photos per month:
The amazing thing? While hockey stick growth of this nature is not exceptional among social networks in their early stages, BeFunky so far has been a web and app photo editor: it’s photo editing – not typically a viral feature – by these young photo enthusiasts that has spurred BeFunky’s growth.
Today, the company announced its next step.
“We want BeFunky to become a new medium for not only editing, but also for viewing and publishing photos,” says Tekin Tatar, CEO and co-founder. In a push to become a destination site/app for photos, BeFunky added these features:
- Users can view photos by topic area (“Channels”), even if they are not logged in – akin to YouTube’s channels. They can also subscribe to these channels when they are logged in.
- BeFunky uses a sophisticated algorithm that determines which photos are more prominently displayed, taking into account how the community likes and interacts with the photos – akin to Reddit.
- Users can follow other users and view their photos – akin to Instagram.
This hybrid YouTube-Reddit-Instagram approach, combined with BeFunky’s existing stable of photo enhancement features, should lead to more viral growth in the months to come, according to Tatar.
We’ll keep a close eye on them!
Hans Hartman is president of Suite 48 Analytics, a leading research and analysis firm for the mobile photography market.