Marshall Kirkpatrick of TechCrunch observed, “In a time when IPOs are among the least common liquidity events enjoyed by Web 2.0 startups, for a photosharing site to remain independent and go public is interesting relative to all the startups we profile here.”
I personally find this interesting on many levels. Just for some quick background…I led several launch teams for consumer-focused digital photography products and services, with some of the first “tethered” still cameras dating back to ’91. I intro’d one of the first commercially accepted cameras, the Ricoh RDC2, back in the 90s (which I still have to this day!), along with cameras by Kodak, Minolta, Pentax, SiPix, DXG, and UMAX, etc., etc. I also launched ClubPhoto.com which paved the way for a ton of online photo sharing sites along with the ever-popular Smugmug.
I think this is one of the true first concrete signs that the internet economy is coming back around andI’m crossing my fingers that everything stays in perspective. Experts are using numbers to prove that we’re not in Bubble 2.0, but the hype is reminiscent of the first one. I mean at the end of the day, this isn’t even the best site for sharing memories any longer. In fact, if I remember correctly, Shutterfly took in ridiculous sums of money in a never-ending series of financing.
In the face of social media, a new landscape of mashed-up competitors, and a more web-savvy consumer market, I wonder how they’ll use this money to remain relevant over the next critical 2-3 years.