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Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 05/16/2012

The Instagram industry


Printers in the the offices of CanvasPop. (Justin Van Leeuwen)
With reports that Facebook has a new, higher IPO range of $34 to $38 per share, attention turns to the company’s latest and largest acquisitions, including photo editing and sharing app Instagram.

The company, much like Facebook, has led to a number of innovations, some of which have resulted in the creation of whole companies. In fact, as Co.Design’s Mark Wilson reported, one designer is working to create a camera called Socialmatic solely for Instagram. The camera merely exists in 3D renderings and, as Wilson points out, seems a bit like a move backwards on photography’s evolutionary timeline. But the continued innovation around Instagram, whether backwards or forwards, highlights the value of the app outside of merely online photo sharing.

Instagram has led to the creation of a number of very real, brick-and-mortar companies centered around bringing your ever-so-hip, digitally aged photos out of the app and onto your wall, or into a scrapbook or even the stitchings of a pillow — this includes companies such as Stitchtagram, Instaprint and Printstagram.

One company, CanvasPop, which offers Instagram prints, has been in the business of turning the personal into wall art for a while. CanvasPop was spun out of DNA11, which offers reprints of your kisses (yes, the literal mark of your lips), fingerprints and DNA sequence, similar to what you might see on an episode of CSI, but blown up and colorized according to your preference.

CanvasPop was recently listed by Mashable as providing one of 10 digital gifts for last-minute Mother’s Day shoppers, and offers Instagram re-prints on everything from thin poster paper to mounted canvas.


Facilities at CanvasPop. (Justin Van Leeuwen)
When it comes to integrating the company with Instagram, “the actual collaboration is quite light,” said co-founder Adrian Salamunovic during an e-mail exchange, “we simply take advantage of their API.”

DNA11 did over $1 million in sales its first year, according to Salamunovic. But CanvasPop, which started in 2009, is doing even better. Salamunovic sees the company’s core competition in CafePress and Shutterfly. “I always say we are a David in an industry of Goliaths,” he said.

Salamunovic says the company has been growing fast, with around 20 percent of revenue coming from Instagram re-prints alone. “The only challenge we've had is growth,” writes Salamunovic, “We've grown at over 200 percent year over year since launch, so we had some growing pains, as you could imagine, but that's a good thing.”

Not bad for an app that takes your new photos and plunges them into the past.

Disclosure: The Washington Post Co.'s chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook's board of directors.

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By  |  12:05 PM ET, 05/16/2012

Categories:  Business, The Arts, Video, Morning Read

 
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