Piccsy Leaves Private Beta on a Mission to Dethrone Google Images as the King of Image Aggregation
Piccsy founder and CEO Daniel Eckler, who previously founded the EveryGuyed network and co-founded Vizualize.me, isn't concerned with his site's similarities to the so-popular-it's-frustrating Pinterest. While there are differentiating factors, and 25,000 users have joined the service during its two-year-long private beta, Eckler's vision for the service has nothing to do with beating the established lookalike.
He's aiming much higher. While Pinterest and Tumblr continue to gain popularity as content aggregators, neither can touch Piccsy's target: Google Images.
Despite the similarity between the two services, Eckler doesn't see an issue with Piccsy and Pinterest co-existing. "Websites like Pinterest and sites that are similar to them gaining so much traction only validates how important images are to people online," he says.
Think Flickr. Think 500px. Thing Imgur, and PhotoBucket, and Shutterstock. Each of these services are popular in their own way but have failed to establish themselves as a one-stop shop for images.
"The more websites and fragmentation there are around images," Eckler says, "The more important it becomes for websites like Google Images or Piccsy to aggregate these images and come up with a solution."
One of the first things the company is building is image recognition software that will allow users to search for images by color. While services like Dribbble and Google Images already have this functionality, other photo-sharing and aggregation services don't.
Piccsy will also roll out an iPhone-specific Web app in the coming weeks, as 10-15 percent of the site's traffic comes from mobile devices. The company is also developing Android and iPad-specific Web apps at around the same time. Native applications are Ïin the product roadmap, and Eckler's hope is that they will land some time before the end of 2012.
Eckler financed the site from the sale of his previous company, and says that Piccsy has enough capital to continue going forward without accepting outside funding. Still, he says that once the site gains more traction he is looking to speak with investors as early as this summer.
"Investors validate business in technology online. You get more press, you get more interest from people that want to be employed," Eckler says. "We don't necessarily need the money today, but there are reasons to take it."
"Some entrepreneurs, their goal is to make an exit. Some entrepreneurs' goal is to raise money. But raising money is the first inning," he says. "It becomes dangerous when your goal is to raise money and you don't see that as just a step to building a huge company".
In Piccsy's case, choosing the right investor can mean the difference between supplanting Google as the destination for images and being recorded as another has-been with lofty goals and not enough capital or clout to realize them. It's clear that Eckler believes Piccsy to be the future of image aggregation; now the company just needs to prove it to everyone else.