Архив рубрики: France Newsletter

PhotoRoom automagically removes background from your photo

Meet PhotoRoom, a French startup that has been working on a utility photography mobile app. The concept is extremely simple, which is probably the reason why it has attracted a ton of downloads over the past few months.
After selecting a photo, PhotoRoom removes the background from that photo and lets you select another background. When you’re done tweaking your photo, you can save the photo and open it in another app.

“My original vision comes from my time when I was working at GoPro,” co-founder and CEO Matthieu Rouif told me. “I often had to remove the background from images and when the designer was out of office, I would spend a ton of time doing it manually.”
And it turns out many people have been looking for a simple app that lets them go in and out as quickly as possible with an edited photo in their camera roll.

For instance, people selling clothes and other items on peer-to-peer e-commerce platforms have been using PhotoRoom to improve their photos. PhotoRoom is often recommended in online discussions or YouTube tutorials about optimizing your Poshmark or Depop listings.
Downloads really started to take off around February. PhotoRoom now has 300,000 monthly active users. The app is only available on iOS for now. And if you’re a professional using it regularly, you can pay for a subscription ($9.49 per month or $46.99 per year) to remove the watermark and unlock more features.
“Subscriptions are what works best on mobile for photo and video apps,” Rouif said.
Behind the scene, PhotoRoom uses machine learning models to identify objects on a photo. And the vision goes beyond removing backgrounds.
Photoshop, the clear leader in photo editing, was designed decades ago. There’s a steep learning curve if you want to use it professionally. It’s hard to understand layers, layer masks, channels, etc.
PhotoRoom wants to build a mobile-first photo-editing app that doesn’t lazily borrow Photoshop’s metaphors and interface elements. “What would be Photoshop if you could understand what’s on the photo,” Rouif said.
While the app relies heavily on templates, you can tweak your images by adding objects, moving them around, adding some shadow and editing elements individually. Image composition is 100% up to the user.

View this post on Instagram

New summer templates are coming this week Wash your hands #photoroom
A post shared by PhotoRoom (@photoroom_app) on May 27, 2020 at 9:55am PDT

Like VSCO, Darkroom, PicsArt, Filmic Pro and Halide, PhotoRoom belongs to a group of prosumer apps that are tackling photo and video editing from different ways. A generation of users who grew up using visual social networks are now pushing the limits of those apps — they look simple when you first use them, but they offer a ton of depth when you learn what you can do with them. And they prove that smartphones can be great computers, beyond content consumption.
Rouif was the head of product at Stupeflix, a powerful video editing app that was acquired by GoPro back in 2016. PhotoRoom is just getting started as there are only four people working on the app, including two interns.

PhotoRoom automagically removes background from your photo

Podcast app Majelan pivots to premium audio content around personal growth

French startup Majelan is pivoting a year after launching a podcast player and service. The company, created by former Radio France CEO Mathieu Gallet and Arthur Perticoz, is ditching the podcast aggregation side of its business and focusing on premium audio content going forward.
Like many podcast startups, Majelan faced some criticism shortly after its launch. Aggregating free podcasts with premium content next to them à la Luminary is a controversial topic in the podcast community. Spotify has been going down the same path, but Spotify is also an order of magnitude bigger than any other podcast startup out there.
Some podcast creators have decided to remove their podcast feeds from Majelan to protest against that business model.
Podcasts remain an open format. Creators can create a feed, users can subscribe to that feed in their favorite podcast app. You don’t have to sign up to a particular service to access a particular podcast — everything is open.
“We have decided to stop aggregating free podcasts — free podcasts mean podcasts, period. For us, podcasts are RSS feeds, it’s an open world,” Perticoz said in a podcast episode. “We need an app that is more focused on payment. We can’t aggregate free podcasts given that our strategy is paid content.”
The result is a more focused service that is going to launch on July 7th in France. After a free trial, you have to subscribe for €5 to €7 per month, depending on the length of your subscription. You can then access a library of premium audio content — Majelan rightfully doesn’t call them podcasts.
“Going forward, we’re going to focus on original content, we’re going to focus 100% on paid content,” Gallet said in the same podcast episode.
And in order to be even more specific, Majelan will focus on personal growth, such as creativity, activism, mindfulness, innovation, entrepreneurship and health. According to the co-founders, some content will be produced in house, some content will be co-produced with other companies, and the startup will also acquire existing podcasts and repackage them for Majelan.
That move has been in the works for a while. The startup pitched it to its board of investors back in December. Premium subscriptions have worked well for movies, TV and music. Now let’s see if subscriptions will also take off with spoken-word audio.

Podcast app Majelan pivots to premium audio content around personal growth

Shine adds invoice insurance to its freelancer bank account

French startup Shine is adding a new option today. If you think there’s a chance that a client is not going to pay your next invoice, you can insure that invoice to avoid any bad surprise.
Shine is building a challenger bank for freelancers and small companies. It lets you send and receive money in a separate business account, pay with a MasterCard, create invoices and stay on top of administrative tasks.
It also helps you get started as the startup can fill out all administrative paperwork to register yourself as a freelancer. You also get notifications to remind you that you should pay your taxes and more. Starting accepting freelancing jobs can be confusing and Shine can help you with that.
Shine has a built-in invoicing tool. It lets you add a client and generate an invoice directly in the mobile app. After that, you can send a link to your client. You get a notification when your client opens the invoice. They can download a PDF and get your bank details to pay you.
And yet, many clients often wait until the last minute to pay an invoice. It can be a month or two after finishing a job, which means that they also forget about outstanding invoices.
In a few weeks, Shine users will be able to create an invoice and insure it before sending it. It costs you 2% of your total amount on your invoice. There’s no subscription fee, it’s a one-off process.
If your client hasn’t paid you after the due date, Shine will reach out to your client again to try to get the payment. If that doesn’t work, you can file a claim with the partner insurance company.
In that case, if the company is still operating, you get paid 100% of your invoice. If the company has collapsed, you get 90% back. (Of course, that’s without taking into account the 2% fees you already paid.)

Shine adds invoice insurance to its freelancer bank account

Cizoo Drops The Beat So That You Can Send Music Messages To Your Friends

 Meet Cizoo, a new iOS app that is all about making it easier to create music. Learning to play an instrument can be hard, but anyone can sing and rap. Cizoo lets you record tidbits of songs on top of a looping music background. Read More

Cizoo Drops The Beat So That You Can Send Music Messages To Your Friends