Prynt fetches $7 million for its photo-print phone case – TechCrunch
Prynt just raised a $7 million Series A round led by GGV Capital. Prynt turns your smartphone into a Polaroid camera with a phone case capable of printing instant photos. Along with the hardware component, Prynt also has a nifty app that lets you scan photos to view short video clips.
The Prynt Phone Case began as a popular Kickstarter project, raising over $1.5 million. You can now find the device on Amazon and various stores, such as Best Buy, Target, and Urban Outfitters. It costs $150. The startup also makes money on paper orders in the app.
But why should you buy a Prynt instead of a Fujifilm Instax or any other instant photo printing device? Prynt has a few differentiating factors.
First, compared to an Instax camera, you take Prynt photos with your smartphone. In addition to the physical photo, you can also save the photo to your camera roll and use it in other apps. That’s smart, because I’ve seen dozens of people take digital photos of tiny Instax photos.
Second, Prynt is trying to invent a new format. When you take a photo with the Prynt app, your phone also records a short video clip of what happens after the photo is taken. The startup stores these video clips on its servers.
Anyone can then download the Prynt app and “scan” a photo by pointing their phone’s camera at a Prynt photo to view the video. It doesn’t just read the photo, it projects the video above the photo in a sort of augmented reality viewfinder. It’s more or less similar to Apple’s Live Photos, but with sound.
I’ve played around with the device and wouldn’t necessarily call it a smartphone case. It’s a bulky add-on that turns your phone into a bulky device – you can’t fit it in your pocket and it’s much less convenient to text once you’ve plugged the Prynt into your phone.
If you are using a smartphone case, you will need to remove it first to use the Prynt. I started using the Prynt at a music festival. But then I took it off because I didn’t really need the case to take pictures – the Prynt is just a printer after all.
When it comes to the augmented reality video format, this is the best part of the Prynt deal. I like looking at old photos and playing videos with the Prynt app. I think this format would go well with a photo wall. It’s a great way to relive fleeting memories.
With today’s funding round, the company plans to partner with more online and offline retailers, iterate on the product front, and hire more people. I’m quite curious what happens next on the hardware front. Personally, I’d like to see a standalone Bluetooth or Wi-Fi printer so I don’t have to plug the device into my phone.