Way before selfie-fixated social media such as Instagram came along, people took photos on film. That meant patience, the unknown, excitement and sure, occasionally disappointment. But some crazy people used to swap films. In a bid to be more creative, they’d shoot a roll of 35mm and send to someone to shoot over. This process was known as double exposure photography, or “doubles”, and it was fun, random and often produced insanely original photos.
This analogue process of film swapping has now brought to the digital age, and for that we can thank dubble, an iOS app that originally launched back in late 2013. More interactive than Instagram and a damn sight more creative than than SnapChat, dubble re-launched on the Apple App Store earleir this year after a year-long hiatus of front- and back-end upgrades.
We spoke to the app’s founder, Adam Scott, to hear all about his journey from scratch to app store stardom.
Give us your elevator pitch
We are a photographic tech company with a mission to inspire people to do be more creative with their photos.
What is dubble’s USP?
We introduce analogue photographic techniques to the smartphone generation
What is your personal background?
I used to be a commercial and editorial photographer before setting up the UK subsidiary for an analogue photographic company called Lomography. As an MD I grew Lomography UK into the most successful subsidiary in the group before leaving to set up dubble
What inspired you to start the company?
There is a niche of analogue photographers that swap rolls of 35mm films, usually with friends in other countries, and create stunning, serendipitous images together. As I got into smartphone photo editing around 2013 I decided to make a fast, digital version of this process with smartphones.
Tell us the story of dubble from launch to present day
We launched our MVP late 2013 having raised an SEIS round from friends and family. At the time we were a team of four. The app was quite successful but we ran out of funds and needed help. In late 2014 we joined the accelerator Ignite and the team was down to me and my mobile developer as the other two couldn’t commit any more time.
After Ignite a new co-founder came on board and we started work on the launch of Dubble v2. We took the MVP off the App Store and the new version took much longer than planned, for various reasons. In this time, however, we launched two new products. A print app and a standalone double exposure app. Finally, dubble v2 came out early 2017. Now we are bootstrapping while we figure out next steps.
How have you monetised your product?
We have in app purchases for dubble and dubble studio plus revenue from dubble print.
What is the biggest challenge dubble has faced so far?
We have many challenges but the biggest is how to stay focused on the key mission of the company whilst being side-tracked by all the other challenges we face!
Any notable major milestones?
We have had many great milestones with App Store features, great press articles, hitting one and then two million dubbles But ultimately the launch of dubble and it being a product that people love and come back to use is my favourite milestone of all.
What’s the next step for growth?
We are struggling growth-wise. When our MVP was out the mobile landscape was quite different and we were growing well organically. Now it’s hard to acquire users organically and it’s expensive to market. We are going to launch a range of 35mm photographic film which is growing in popularity and hope this will give us a decent push as well as breaking into some new markets. Ultimately we want to grow the business for an acquisition.
And lastly, are you looking for more funding?
We are now looking into the possibility of a small round the help with marketing our apps and launching our range of film.