YC alum’s new service Loom aims to be photo management for the mobile world

By Richard Nieva , written on May 23, 2013

From The News Desk

It’s become a bit of a tradition for developers to try and remake Apple’s core apps. The mail inbox and maps have seen innovation from outside developers. On desktop, Collections has tried to reinvent the Finder, proving that nothing is sacred.

Here’s one more: One Y-Combinator alum is gunning for both iPhoto and iCloud with Loom, a photo and video storage management system built specifically for mobile. The service is invite only for now but will be launching to the general public in about a month, says cofounder and CEO Jan Senderek.

The product has a simple mobile interface to manage photos and videos stored in the cloud across a number of devices: iPhone, iPad (it’s only on iOS for now), as well as DSLR cameras and SD cards. The idea is that since cameras are better – and media files are bigger – than before, storing them locally on your phone is not practical, and solutions like Apple’s camera roll and iPhoto still make it difficult to manage content, especially when images and videos are culled from different devices, says Senderek.

He says Loom will let you access 150 gigabytes worth of photos and videos on your phone while only taking up 500 megabytes of the phone’s storage. Of course, there are several file-syncing services, like Dropbox, that aim to align files from disparate devices. But Senderek contends that users need something solely focused on photos and videos.

Senderek originally joined YC in the winter of 2012 to create Popset, a photo-sharing community. But he pulled the plug on it after he realized a social network and actual tools are hard to build simultaneously, and he started building Loom, with largely a new team. “You can’t have a community and a utilitarian product,” says Senderek. “People don’t want all of their photos on Facebook, even if it is set to private.”

Senderek says that right now the product is for power users -- photographers who take lots of high-resolution photos or those who shoot lots of video. As is, the product is easy enough to use, but a next-gen management system for professional media makers holds so much more promise than Loom can deliver right now. For example, imagine being a video producer having easy access to all types of project files, like Final Cut Pro files. Or a photographer that could easily access raw files. For now, Loom only supports basic photo and video files, but Senderek says the vision is eventually to support those more complex files.

Of course, you could always throw those files in Dropbox, but you would also need all your video files in there and that requires a ton of space. There are a lot of logistics to be worked out, but if a company has the ambition to tackle it, I know a lot of producers that would be eternally grateful. Who knows if that company is Loom, but the opportunity is there.

[Image courtesy Caviar]