London-based Lapse raises £1M to recapture film camera nostalgia via your smartphone

Lapse team Image credits: Lapse

Facebook has landed itself in hot water countless times, and the latest incident entails its own research that throws light on harmful effects of Instagram on teenagers. Not only Facebook, but multiple other social media sites are plagued with problems as they play on the psychology of the masses to keep increasing their numbers. In the midst of such addictive apps, London-based Lapse aims to deliver a notable experience, albeit minus the addiction. 

An app for boomers, Gen Z and everyone in-between

Lapse has launched its ‘social disposable’ camera app that is touted to recreate the magic of images captured on old-school film roll cameras. The app enables users to take 36 snaps to ‘rolls’ in private group chats. Only after 24 hours of the first shot, the roll is revealed to the group. In a conversation with UKTN, co-founders of the company, Dan and Ben Silvertown reveal more about the app.

“Lapse is a fun and easy way to take photos that look really good and share them easily with friends. It allows you to take incredible looking photos with one tap of a button and  photos from Lapse live in a shared camera roll that everyone has access to immediately when they join a group,” says Dan. He also says that photos taken via the app look “incredible” and while sharing, they aren’t compressed. 

Lapse has also witnessed notable demand on the Apple App Store. As per the company, it has over 150,000 pre-orders and is launching as an invite-only app to manage the demand. Dan notes that their current focus group after launch will be photographers and the creative community, and people who post photos frequently instead of onboarding more users to show pumped up numbers. 

Funding details

The app launch of Lapse is supplemented with a £1 million seed round, which was led by Speedinvest, with participation from Atomico. Notable angels such as Matt Robinson (Founder of Nested, GoCardless), Ian Hogarth (Founder of SongKick), Simon Franks (Founder of LoveFilm), Claire Nooriala (VP EMEA, Snap Inc.), Jamie Swango (ex-CMO of Deliveroo and GP at The Craftory), Vinay Solanki (Head of Channel 4 Ventures), Dmitry Tokarev (Founder of Copper.co), Mike Lobanov (GP at Target Global), and Maria Palma (GP at Kindred Capital) participated as well.

The latest funds will be used to grow the startups’ team, engineering team specifically, and infrastructure operational costs. Some small amount will be directed towards marketing and user acquisition, since the company is prioritising organic onboarding. The startup currently has a head count of 10 employees and will soon be expanding the team as well.

“Social networks started with the goal of connecting the world. But when everyone is connected, broadcasters and influencers drown out real, personal connections. This is where Lapse comes in,” says investor Sameer Singh of Atomico’s angel programme. “By restricting interactions to curated groups of friends, people you actually know, Lapse is re-introducing the social graph and authenticity to photo sharing.”

The origins

The modern generation has more or less lost touch with tech of the past. But the idea to use the concept of film rolls on an app came to Ben when he travelled to Vietnam with a friend, who was obsessed with film. “I never really understood why someone would want to carry around a clunky plastic thing when they could conveniently take photos on their phone,” Ben notes. 

However, his friend lent him the point and shoot film camera and Ben was sold after the first roll. “The entire film photography experience is worlds apart from what has become the norm in today’s Instagram era. Not being able to review your shots made it more about enjoying the moment rather than trying to showcase it. The feeling of seeing all your photos for the first time is unbeatable,” Ben concludes.