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Dispo, a new photo-sharing app raises $20m to be the anti-Instagram for generation Z

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Dispo, a photo-sharing app is getting a lot of attention in Silicon Valley and across the world shortly after the launch of an iPhone-only chatting app Clubhouse.

Dispo an invite-only IOS app is in many ways similar to the retro film camera and has in a way brought back past memories.

It was launched by David Dobrik a YouTube and social media enthusiast in 2019 during the festive season and has quickly gained popularity on the App Store as it got one million subscribers in just one month.

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In October 2020, the startup raised a $20 million seed round led by Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit via his Seven Seven Six Venture Capital Firm together with other angel investors. At this point, the platform had hit 2.6 million subscribers. 

The social network originally operated like Instagram but later changed to a camera app and it’s now valued at $100 million. Already Dispo has attracted big investors for instance Sequoia capital, a16z, and Benchmark.

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For some Dispo is seen as the anti-Instagram for generation Z as it focuses on unpolished aesthetics as it does not have any filters and no edit buttons on the App. Therefore, representing a real-world, unlike Instagram which allows editing painting a fake world.

How it works

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Users capture photographs directly on the App, which does not enable filters and editing, then wait for 24 hours for them to appear in feeds and just like for disposable cameras, users can share their photos on public album called rolls. Dispo has stated on its app listing on Apple that this experience brings high quality film to a user’s phone.

The app also takes your iPhone or iPad or iPod touch screen into the back of a 90s disposable camera, lets you snap an image by the use of minuscule viewfinder, either in flash mode or sans it, and helps you go back to the living moment.

The user then receives notifications after the photos are developed are ready for viewing at a specific time, just like the disposal cameras of yore. Also, the app has an option to send for print and create physical album too.

Dispo also enables users to invite others to their film rolls, and stitch their own disposable photos to their rolls. With the shared film rolls either public or private, the app mimics a social network.

The platform has undertaken improvement and it has now developed other features like a selfie mode, users can also export photos to the snapchat and other fun features that interest millennials and generation Z users.

The App allows users to pay$ 0.99 for ads to disappear and is compatible to devices running ios 13.0 or later and is rated 4.1 out of 5 on App store.

Dispo is planning to introduce an album co-creation and community feature which will enable users to bond over a grainy film photo referred to as humane tech, a style expected to shape the next decades of social apps.

Despite the fact that Dispo is only on ios devices, it has attracted a lot of interest amongst Android users who feel left out. Coming at a time when most experiences are online in the pandemic. The app is willing to revive the offline world and make nostalgia cool and this is exciting to users who want to seek refuge in the old times in a season of uncertainty and fear.

According to Grafton Tanner, a professor of communications at the university of Georgia ,one of the things about nostalgia that is not talked about much is that you can be nostalgic for something you didn’t live through. He said that nostalgia can show up by seeing a representation of something that is so different than the reality that you live in. There is something about having a window into an alternative reality.

This alternative reality it seems is the reason Dispo has garnered a lot of traction on the app. Considering the App store reviews, then users are wowed by a photo app that doesn’t force them to think of captions or edits or engagement.

Although Dispos popularity may start to go down after the pandemic, but it may be difficult for raw authenticity and alternative reality to go out of style.

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Milcah Lukhanyu
Milcah Lukhanyu
I cover tech news across Africa. Drop me an email at [email protected]

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