Lapse, a new private photo-sharing sharing startup based in London, England, has already garnered a £1.04 million seed investment led by Speedinvest. Mimicking the function of single-use film cameras, the app lets friends in group chats take photos together, but they must wait until the 36 photos “develop” the next day before they can view them. The app is currently invite-only and has more than 150,000 pre-orders.
According to the announcement, the funding round closed in four days, led by Speedinvest with participation from Atomico, and angels including and notable angels including Matt Robinson (Founder of Nested, GoCardless), Ian Hogarth (Founder of SongKick), Simon Franks (Founder of LoveFilm), Claire Nooriala (VP EMEA, Snap Inc.), Jamie Swango (ex-CMO of Deliveroo and GP at The Craftory), Vinay Solanki (Head of Channel 4 Ventures), Dmitry Tokarev (Founder of Copper.co), Mike Lobanov (GP at Target Global), and Maria Palma (GP at Kindred Capital). Atomico angel programme leader Sameer Singh writes about his view on the app here.
Lapse was founded by brothers Ben and Dan Silvertown, fresh off of their success of other viral projects, like ‘The World’s Most Expensive Pop-up Shop’ and Goat-gif on Facebook and the COVID-19 induced ‘DIY haircut platform’, LockdownHaircut, which was picked up by various international media, including the BBC.
“In a world where you order food in a tap, hail taxis in an instant, and swipe to date, there’s something oddly exhilarating about being forced to wait,” says Ben Silvertown. “Before digital cameras, you had no idea what you captured. The suspense of not knowing paired with seeing your snaps for the first time is a powerful feeling. We’ve re-created that experience and made it social.”
“There’s an unmet need for pressure-free, friends-only sharing,” adds Dan Silvertown. “Photos taken on Lapse cannot be reviewed, edited, or curated in ways that other platforms allow. The result is truly authentic moments shared privately between friends, not followers.”
Lapse is the latest in high-profile “private network” photo apps, including David Dobrik‘s Dispo. In a statement, Dan Silvertown specified the difference: “Fundamentally we’re addressing different needs. 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.”
“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 Singh of Atomico’s angel programme. “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 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.”