Trumpit Unlocks New Way to Share Photos on Mobile Phones

You might not think there’s room in the market—or on your smartphone—for another photo-sharing app, but Bill Gianoukos thinks you’re wrong. He also thinks he’s got the app that will trump them all—which is fittingly named Trumpit.

Gianoukos is a Boston-area entrepreneur and former chief product officer of HeyWire, a messaging app. He is back in the startup game with Trumpit, a new app for Android devices. The company has raised a $1.2 million seed round.

Trumpit lets users snap pictures with their phones, edit them and add filters, and share them with friends. There are a lot of apps that do that, but Trumpit’s twist is it allows users to send pictures directly to their friends so that the pics will appear above a photo’s lock screen. So, instead of getting a notification and having to launch the app, the picture just pops up on the phone if it’s locked.

“For most people, getting a photo from a friend is way more important than getting a notification from an app,” Gianoukos said. Users can pick whom in their list of friends they want to get pop-up pictures from.

Trumpit goes both ways. A recipient can touch a button saying they love the shot, reply directly with a text message, or send a photo of their own. Afterward the phone will return to its prior state.

Bypassing the lock screen or notification bar is a neat feature, but to be successful Trumpit has to stand out from popular apps that already have hundreds of millions of users. Gianoukos acknowledges that, and he says the app sits in the space between Snapchat and Instagram. He thinks Trumpit has an edge because it takes the best features from both to create something neither offers.

Snapchat is good at quickly sharing messages and pictures with individuals or a small group of friends, but Gianoukos doesn’t think photo quality is its strong point. He believes Trumpit will offer higher quality photos and editing tools. And while Snapchat’s key feature is making pics and messages disappear, Trumpit allows users to keep their pics.

While Instagram dominates the mobile photo sharing and photo editing space, Gianoukos argues its strength is broadcasting photos to a large network of people. Trumpit is better at quickly getting a pic to a close friend or family member, he says.

People also can use multimedia messaging service apps to send pics, but that can be cumbersome. Trumpit lets users skip a few steps, Gianoukos said.

Right now, Trumpit is available only for Android devices. The reason is that Apple doesn’t like apps that bypass its lock screen. Some iOS apps are available that add notifications or change the wallpaper, but adding a new feature like Trumpit seems a step too far, Gianoukos said.

Still, Gianoukos hints an iOS version of Trumpit with other features might be available in the future.

Work on Trumpit started late last year, and the startup is just emerging from stealth. During that time, it quietly raised a $1.2 million seed round that closed in March.

Trumpit’s key feature is making photos automatically pop up on your screen. So, what about the pictures you don’t want to pop up automatically? Like a flirty (or dirty) picture from a significant other, or a nasty picture sent as a prank from friends?

Gianoukos gets that question a lot, including from potential investors, but he said it’s something only older people ask. Millennials don’t seem bothered by the idea that a picture that might be inappropriate might appear at an inopportune time, he said.

For people who do worry, the app comes with a mode that safely blurs pictures, he said. A user can touch it to un-blur it or open it later.

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