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OurStory, SnapJot and Tabblo all want to tell your life-story

There are so many photo sites out there, it is easy to get jaded. But when the folks at Mountain View start-up OurStory dropped by the other day to give a demo, we liked it, can can see ourselves using it.

Like its name suggests, OurStory offers you a way to tell your life's story by posting pictures up in a nice chronological order, scrolling left to right. See the diagram below (you can click on it to enlarge). You can organize your life by each year (or by other time periods, such as decades) and post the most relevant photos for that year. OurStory gives you an easy way to jot down commentary for what happened in that year, and/or what the photo signifies about it. That commentary pops up in a space below the photos. All this is contained on a page of a Web-based application, where you can store photos and other things.


There are lots of features and doodads at the site which make it easy to share with other people. For example, you can let relatives or other friends comment on your story. In some cases, those relatives may give you insight about the event that you never knew about. In the example below, of Andy's life story, you'll see that someone who knew his father posts a comment explaining how Andy's father was a terrific pilot, and exactly how he was terrific.


Beyond these basics, there's a Q&A feature which lets you ping relatives and friends to ask them questions about events, and then helps you save their responses. And you can respond to questions your friends have. There's an auto-search function, which looks for photos on the Web related to the event or topic of your life you are writing about. You can import video via VideoEgg.

The five year old company, which just launched publicly a few days ago, is backed by $6.3 million from Benhamou Global Ventures, El Dorado and Venrock. (OurStory was previously called Wisdom Ark, and we mentioned them earlier.)

The service if free, but charges you $39.99 for a "premium" version, which lets you create several timelines (if you want one version for your family and another for your workplace, for example), or if you want to create one to help a relative tell their story. The premium version also lets you keep it private, searchable by only people in your trusted network.

Halliday tells us he hasn't seen any other companies offering a similar full-fledged social-networking life-story collection of photos. There are folks like Wisdom Legacy, which appears to have a religious affiliation, and Shutterfly is apparently going to introduce a life-story feature too, Halliday says. But he's betting that OurStory's focus will keep it ahead of the pack.

And there's SnapJot, of San Francisco, which originally launched on Dec 5, to help people share vacation itineraries, vacation photos and videos, and backed at the time by $1.5 million in seed funding from angel Ron Conway and Amicus. But the company has launched again today with a product very similar to OurStory's. It is run by Steve Douty, founder of Octopus Software, and Steve Zagerman, who previously did product development and engineering at Ofoto. Like OurStory, SnapJot wants to make money by helping you print and pubish your story, too.
Finally, there's Tabblo, backed by Matrix Partners, which is also pitching to let you "tell your story."

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Interesting note about Tabblo, for people who care about this stuff: Tabblo was built using the Django web framework (http://www.djangoproject.com/), which is picking up steam as a development platform.

Michael Bazeley on May 30, 2006 12:37 PM
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Your posting looks suspiciously like today's "market summary" in VentureWire Alert sent out earlier in the morning.

David on May 30, 2006 1:42 PM
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isnt it a sad state of over vc funded waters when we see three startups launching to pursue a concept not yet proven by any?

mark pincus on May 30, 2006 4:33 PM
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I think you're definitely going to see some overlap on VC fundings/launchings coverage, because we cover similar things. OurStory came into visit me weeks ago, long before Venturewire ever ran their story -- just never got to it. So when SnapJot came out today, decided to wrap everything in....

Matt Marshall on May 30, 2006 5:01 PM
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Andy's effort with "Ourstory" is certainly not a VC trend. It is a passion and a calling. He has been working it for years. (He was working on it even before I hired him into www.Spoke.com) In fact, I think in someway Andy has been working on this alot of his life. It is rare that someone's passion attracts venture money...when it does great things ussually happen.

There are a number of things popping up in the space. www.FamilyRoutes.com is a boot strapped deal by some ex yahoo's, for example. They all seem to be enabled by three fundemental trends: the increase in overall web "comfort and experience" by the much larger general internet user population, the ability to create very rich media experiences with broadband, and most importantly the web audience being old enough to care about sharing thier stories.

Ben on May 30, 2006 11:28 PM
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