SXSW 2013: Albumatic Entices Austin Partygoers With Free Korean BBQ

What do a new social photo album app and Korean BBQ have in common? Not much, I hear you say. That was my first thought too until going to South by Southwest (SXSW) and realizing that anything is possible.

As I strolled out of one of the many parties that I had visited that evening (diet Cokes only – promise!), there in front of me was a Korean BBQ truck with a big sign saying “Free.” Of course I walked over – after all, it would have been rude not to. And that’s when I discovered Albumatic.

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The new app, Albumatic, is a startup concept that I’ve been hearing about for a few years. Unlike some of the already existing photo-sharing apps out there, this one is about creating albums in real time that your friends can contribute to. And of course downloading it at the truck meant that I’d be getting my free BBQ, so I definitely wanted to hear more.

“There were a few of us taking photos of my new baby son. We had all taken so many pictures but realized that they were all siloed in each other’s devices. We then realized that although there are many places to share photos, such as Facebook and Instagram, etc., there is nowhere that you can combine images into one place, in a social way,” says Devon Gundry, co-founder of Albumatic.

“Albumatic isn’t about sharing photos with your friends later on, nor is it about randomly connecting with people nearby. Instead, it allows you to create and capture events with friends in the moment,” he adds.

When you join Albumatic, it helps you find other users on Facebook, in your contact list, or nearby via the phone’s GPS, explains Gundry. After that, when you and a friend are near each other, you can create and join albums together. Friends see albums as you create them through push notifications, and they can either “watch” it if they aren’t nearby, or they can join the album if they’re witnessing the same event. Like apps such as Instagram, people can favorite or comment on photos.

“For example, if you’re sampling the great quesadillas at the best food truck in Austin, you can create an album for “quesadillas Austin” on Albumatic, and if there are Albumatic users nearby who are friends with you in the app, they’ll get a notification and will be able to join the album and add photos too,” says Gundry.

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Albumatic was created by Gundry (above left), along with co-founder Adam Ludwin (above right). Based in LA, Gundry is a musician while Ludwin is a principal at venture capital firm RRE Ventures and led the seed round in Twitter-acquired social video startup Vine.

And back to my first question of commonalities between a new social photo album app and Korean BBQ – a cool social fan base who enjoys good food, of course!

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