Velocity Startup Pout Acquired by Everalbum
Velocity Garage startup Pout, a community for fashion and beauty with over 60,000 users, has been acquired by Everalbum, a photo management app that currently sits as the #1 Productivity app in the App Store.
Pout is an iPhone app that allows you to explore the fashion and beauty industry by sharing photos and videos that showcase people’s unique looks, ideas, and techniques. Pout founders Laura Smith and Riley Donelson, grew up together in Waterloo and attended the same high school, but the idea to start a business together didn’t come to fruition until years later when they reconnected in San Francisco on their co-op terms working for Pinterest and Apple. Upon Laura’s graduation from Ivey School of Business, she approached Riley with the idea for Pout, and together with her experience as a programmer and Riley’s experience as a designer, they set to work on creating Pout.
Pout was designed to democratize the fashion and beauty industries, by allowing average people to share their sense of style, and bond with other community members over photos and videos, without needing to be interested in, or knowledgeable about, the high end fashion market.
“The idea is to have a more diverse representation of users. To learn from people that look similar to you or people who are replicating the same styles you admire in their own unique ways.” – Riley Donelson
When Everalbum first approached Laura and Riley with the offer, the acquisition of their company wasn’t an idea they had ever considered. “We were at a crossroads of whether we should raise a round of funding, our original plan, or pursue the acquisition. The opportunity and timing seemed really perfect with the acquisition opportunity and that’s what we decided to pursue,” noted Riley.
Everalbum is an app that acts as a repository for your photos, collecting them from your mobile device via automatic backups, while also curating photos from popular services like Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, and Google. For Laura and Riley, working for Everalbum couldn’t be more perfect.
“We’re both in the photo-based consumer app industry, storing people’s memories, which ties into our thinking around Pout as well. Creating a digital book of memories for people, whether that’s through their style or their friendships, is something we are passionate about.” – Laura Smith
This acquisition will allow Pout to continue to grow in Everalbum’s new Kitchener office in the Tannery. Laura notes that “being a small team with a lot of traction, and already being the #1 productivity app in the App store is an immeasurable plus. With their new office in KW, we still get to stay a part of the Velocity spirit and community.” It is important to Laura and Riley to have the connection with Silicon Valley while still living in Kitchener. Riley adds, “To stay here and retain Canadian talent, avoid brain drain, and still be an integral part of the community is very important to us.”
Riley and Laura’s journey began at the Velocity Garage in 2014, where they developed Pout, and won the Velocity Fund Finals, which included $25,000 in non-equity prize money. “It gave us a marketing budget for the first time, which for an app-based company, is essential to create growth. We created a marketing strategy with Youtube through the winnings from the Velocity Fund, which allowed us to put Pout on the map,” noted Riley. From that point onward, a lot of work has gone into perfecting their product, with a focus on iterating quickly, based on feedback from constantly talking to users.
Working out of the Velocity Garage, the largest free startup incubator in North America, Laura and Riley tapped into co-working space, mentorship, and networks, but more than that, they were a part of the startup community. “We definitely wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in now if it wasn’t for Velocity. From getting the mentorship at every stage from the mentors within Velocity, to alumni like Ted Livingston from Kik, who has been a huge help and instrumental in making key discussions,” noted Laura.
“Velocity has been amazing with both the mentors and the community, I mean, Velocity was everything for us. Velocity is Pout.” – Riley Donelson
And similarly, the Velocity Garage would not have been the same without Pout.
“Laura and Riley have been a great part of the Velocity community over the past 18 months, in addition to being past winners of the Velocity Fund. Anyone who has met these two know how friendly and genuine they are. Both were always willing to mentor new teams and we will be sad to see them go. We wish them the very best as they join Everalbum.” – Mike Kirkup, Director of Velocity
Laura and Riley’s advice to future entrepreneurs is simple: “Tap into the alumni network as much as possible. Try to meet as many people in the Velocity network as you can, because those relationships will define your experience. You have to be willing to accept their advice or criticisms in order to grow.”
From growing up together in Waterloo, to running their own business, this is just the beginning for their promising futures, and a new chapter in Pout’s history. We wish Laura and Riley the best of luck in all their future endeavours and continued success at Everalbum!