App That Turns Your Phone into an ‘Old-School Camera’ Raises $30M

Screenshots of the Lapse app.

Lapse, a camera app that mimics the days of waiting for film to develop before showing snapshots to friends, raised an additional $30 million in funding, fueling the trend of stripped-down social media platforms.

Taking a picture with Lapse might be the antithesis of what Instagram has come to be known for. Instead of heavily curated and edited images, Lapse forces users to wait for their photos to be “developed” in-app, eliminating the chance to take multiple shots and trying to get just the right one. There are also no native editing features users can take advantage of.

Lapse, with its “friends not followers” tagline, evokes a similar use case to something like BeReal, where are prompted to take photos at a specific time, rather than waiting to curate an opportunity (lest the image be marked as posted “late”). It’s meant to feel more authentic.

“Today’s social media giants compel us to curate our lives for likes from strangers and to compete with friends for followers,” Lapse’s website reads. “We’ve been so caught up in that game, we forgot the real reason we signed up in the first place. We built Lapse as a reminder that taking and sharing memories doesn’t have to be like this.”

This ethos was a big part of why Greylock co-led Lapse’s latest funding round, according to TechCrunch. Jacob Andreou, a general partner at Greylock, told the outlet that platforms like Instagram and Facebook, two sites Greylock reported backed early on, have slowly moved away from places to keep up with friends.

“I think what’s interesting about that is it’s left a hole where there is no place where you can go to just check out your friends’ profiles, see what they’re up to,” Andreou told TechCrunch. “That’s also an amazing place to start because that’s where all these really big platforms started.”

It might be a winning strategy, too. BeReal has cemented itself in the social media world, and Lapse has seen high growth. However, TechCrunch also noted the app’s rise may partially stem from “growth-hacking and forced invites to expand the number of installs of its app.” Users were forced to send invites to download the app to access the platform at all. However, this is no longer the case.

Image credits: Lapse