It is with a deep regret that we announce that we will shutdown our beloved service, Picturex. We started Picturex almost five years ago, with a small team of passionate and experienced engineers and IT-professionals at MIT Cloud Innovation AG. Over the years, we have tried to follow our vision of making photo sharing private, secure and easy.
It has been a fantastic journey for us, we have learnt a lot, and we want to THANK YOU, our valued users, supporters, testers and partners, for giving us the opportunity to serve you! 😍
Here is what YOU need to do BEFORE the shutdown
We don’t want you to lose your most precious photos! Download them before the end of 2018 to make sure you don’t lose any data. In 2019, it will NOT be possible to restore any of your photos. That’s how you can download your photos:
On your smartphone: open the photo album you want to download and click the download-icon. Then select if you want to store them locally, or export them with a single click to Swisscom’s MyCloud
On your computer: visit https://web.picturex.ch, log-in with your Picturex Plus account and download your photo albums
Being avid photographers and snapshot-takers ourselves, we will also need a new, secure photo sharing service. Having previously partnered with Swisscom, Switzerland’s biggest mobile phone operator, we can wholeheartedly recommend their fantastic service MyCloud. Photos you upload to MyCloud are saved in Swiss datacenters and you decide who has access to your photos (and other data).
What we’ve done & learnt
When we started out, the photo sharing space was already quite advanced, but had one big issue: it tried to maximize user numbers and (mostly) allowed only public photo sharing. We, however, believed that the private photos you take of your new-born, at your wedding, your city trip, or that party should only be shared with your closest friends and family only. YOU should be able to decide who sees your photos and when they are deleted (instead of being stored on some webserver for who know how long). This is how our friend Frank pitched his idea to us. We were immediately hooked and decided to invest our time and money to pursue Picturex with him.
A few months later, we released Picturex for Windows Phone, an instant hit in a user base that was rapidly growing (back then…) and not yet blessed with many apps. Of course, a sharing app (albeit secure) must be available on other platforms too. Thus, we soon started working on apps for Android and iOS too. Our good connections with bloggers and journalists around the world helped us to spread the word about Picturex. Also a couple of awards and honors (such as the European AppCup Award, Silicon Beach App Award and Telerik Featured App) helped us to further promote Picturex. In 2016, we were grateful and happy to partner with Swisscom. They helped us to integrate Picturex into MyCloud and release a major design makeover.
In the meantime, we also started working on our business offering – where companies could buy a whitelabel version of Picturex, along with custom design and tailored features. We imagined that travel-agencies could increase their customer-base, zoos/parks could make their visits more memorable, organizers could make their events more fun with live slideshows, or wedding-organizers would have an additional service for their customers. However, we weren’t aware of the very long sales process that was required to convince these mid-sized companies. As a result, we couldn’t grow as fast as we needed to scale Picturex and make it a viable competitor to today’s big photo-exchange services (including Google Photos, OneDrive Photos, Dropbox).
In retrospect, that’s a common mistake of Swiss (European?) startups: spending too much time with building a perfect product and waiting too long with the launch, and subsequently missing out on getting actual real user feedback early on.
Picturex recently crossed the 40’000 registered users, with thousands of photo albums created and hundreds of thousands of photos uploaded and shared in private! Nonetheless, we had to realize that it is time to move on, work on new and other exciting solutions, and that competition in the meantime has catched-up and there are indeed a couple of secure and private photo sharing services available. We are excited to have been part of and have influenced the secure and private photo-sharing space!
Working on Picturex was amazing and we’ve learnt a ton; especially in how to create and scale a cloud-service with Xamarin, Angular and Azure, and how to best work with users around the world! We also had a ton of fun, most memorably the fantastic photos people shared on the Tierpark Goldau Snapshots album, or the dragonboat race in Switzerland that we co-sponsored and where the winners of our photo-competition were invited to host a huge BBQ party.
Once again, we want to THANK EVERYONE for their fantastic support! All our users for using Picturex, giving us feedback and suggestions on how to improve the service. Our partners, most of all Frank, Swisscom, Microsoft BizSpark and Xamarin, for working closely with us and believing in our vision. MIT Cloud Innovation AG who financed our work. Our gratitude also goes to all friends and family who helped us tremendously with testing Picturex on different devices, in different scenarios, starting with early prototypes that grew more mature on the way.
Thank you for being part of this amazing journey and giving us the opportunity to serve you!