Synapse Competition

Sam Billingham in Venture Culture

Assessing the competition

To asses whether this app will make it when its up against the best on the current market I’m looking into some of the competitors and identifying what makes them work, whether I can do it better and if there’s space in the market for what i can offer. One of the key aspects of my app is for most of your close friends to use it as well as yourself so it’ll have to be up there with the best and be viable as competition to gain popularity. I’ll be looking into Path, Instagram, Memolane and Flock some of the top contenders in terms of popularity and functionality each are different and I hope to take the best parts of each forward into my own app idea.


Path is as app for keeping up to date and sharing your memories with close friends. Path limits its user to have 150 contacts but the average is just 40 per user creating a great place to share memories. The visual style of Path is amazing its clean and minimal without sacrificing functionality. Path is available a free for both IOS and Android and uses in app premium services for monetization, these include buying filters for cameras (69p each as seen on the “top in app purchases” on the iTunes site”) as well as allowing purchasing of songs through iTunes(taking a cut form apple i’m sure), an unusual approach however it is proving that this can work. Like other start ups currently path cares less about how much money they are making and more about the amount of users they have, In July this year Path had 3million users. Path is distributed via the respective marketplaces for Android and iPhone, because of the high downloads it’s easy to find and well recognised by the path branding. Path has been setup for two years and currently has around 30 employees.

The biggest downfall of Path is its lack of a Web-App, I’m unsure why this doesn’t exist or if one is in the works. Path is a great way to create and share memories but not for viewing and especially not for more than one person, sharing phone screens isn’t fun.

What I can build on from Path- Sleek minimal design, easy privacy settings, in app purchases, close friends only


Instagram is a free mobile App for photo sharing available on the IOS and Android App stores, users take photos apply filters and share it with their contacts. Instagram has grown in popularity steadily since its creation and has become a must have app for many people, App data puts Instagram currently at 40million monthly active users. Instagram was brought by Facebook in August of this year for $1 billion (£628 million). Currently there is still no monetization of Instagram there are however rumours that adds may becoming soon but we wont know until it happens. Instagram does one thing, it shares pictures and it does that one thing really well which is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness, people do more than just take photos and although a single photo is enough to bring back all those memories i think there is room for more, more words, videos, songs, tweets packaging all of these in an Instagram finesse .

What I can build on from Instagram - Make a web app version, no adverts,


MemoLane is a free Web-App that works as an aggregator to make all of your social posts into memories or “lanes”. Memolane still works on a timeline basis which is where i think it may fall short slightly, to my experience the search feature doesn’t work too well as the posts are just pulled in from other social outlets therefore you can only search whatever was written at the time. I think the design is over complicated and every time I have tried to use the service it’s painfully slow. I can’t find and details of how many active users Memolane has which indicated to me that its nothing to write home about. I think this is most relevant as a competitor purely because there is a Web-App it has some of the similar functionality i want (creating memories and viewing them online, based more around yourself rather than looking at other people) but I think it can be done better.

What I can build on from Memolane - Make it about the users personal experience not about looking at what others are doing


Flock is a free iPhone App that allows you to have a shared albums with photos taken by anyone at an event/place who also has Flock. A quote from the website “You and your friends love to take photos together, but they always end up on different phones. Flock finds the photos that you’ve taken together and makes it easy for you to share them with each other.” This has other parts of the functionality i am looking for it knows who you were with when you took certain photos and then instead of just sharing them so each person has there own you actually share the collection. I am planing on using similar functionality but on a larger scale, instead of tagging people you’ll both have equal shares in whatever ”memory” you create. Currently on the App store Flock isn’t doing so well due to the fact that it requires Facebook and wasn’t clearly stated as well as having a couple bugs in older versions, this has left flock with 2.5/5 stars, I think this is in no way a reflection of the functionality as this is well received.

What i can build on from Flock - Using location of you and your friends

Published December 03, 2012 by Sam Billingham in Venture Culture