app was very useful, it is one of my failures. The monetisation was based on advertisements and we never made enough to make it a commercial success,” he says.
But failure helped Bhumkar learn how to make a good product commercially viable. “Vazu’s success led to escalated costs, but the revenue was not enough to sustain it. That is why at Cooliris, we are careful about cost and scale. We had two rounds of funding from Kleiner-Perkins and Docomo, and we recently sold the 3D advertising business to SingTel.”
When asked about advice for budding app developers and entrepreneurs in India, Bhumkar says, “Don’t just look at form and function, look at fun. The user experience should be a major part of development — the app should be simple, sexy and elegant.”
Founded in 2006, Cooliris today is a company of 18 collaborators, not employees, as Bhumkar puts it. Eleven of these are developers and six are WITs, short for ‘whatever it takes’. “These WITs have flexible roles. They have to be ready to do whatever it takes to get the job done We have a release-driven approach. Once we have a release date in mind, all 18 work passionately till the app is released,” Bhumkar says.
Cooliris recently expanded to China with partnerships with Tencent and Renren and is working on a collaboration with another major Chinese firm. “Asia is a big market for us. Now India is third in terms of smartphone adoption, so we cannot ignore this market. Partnerships in India are still in early stages, but we are working on it,” he says.
Usage in India is “not much, but Cooliris is among the top five new downloads in the country”.
Cooliris is an iOS app that lets you manage photos across devices and services. Apart from photos on iPhone and iPad, users can view and organise pictures from Google, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Instagram, and a host of other services. The defining feature of the app is its 3D wall, which is a beautiful way of displaying images.