A sudden realization of something unexpected – for example, a promising business opportunity – may occur in any circumstance. For Arian Radmand, former CTO and founder at CoachUp.com, the “aha!” moment for its new startup TurnGram happened at Walgreens.
In the summer of 2016, the Boston resident was visiting his parents in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. Per their request, he was expected to bring a couple of printed photos of his life in Massachusetts, so his parents could hang them around the house. At that time, Radmand was using Walgreens photo services, which allow users to order photos online and pick them up in a store of their choice.
“I just want this done on autopilot and done on a regular basis.”
After driving for six hours, Radmand stopped by Walgreens to pick up his order, drove the extra block and a half to his home, delivered the photos to his parents and had a revelation about the whole process. “I just want this done on autopilot and done on a regular basis,” Radmand confessed to himself, making a mental note of an important detail. He already had the photos he wanted to share with his parents on his extra-curated Instagram feed; all he wanted to do was outsource the tasks of choosing, printing and delivering the paper copies.
By the following summer 2017, Radmand had a prototype up and working of TurnGram, an online service that he presents as “your photo concierge service.” His main selling point is that once customers have decided to subscribe to the service, they don’t have to lift a finger to have their photos printed and delivered.
Customers get started by connecting their Instagram account to TurnGram. Then, they describe who the recipient is and what kind of photos they want to send. In the case of Radmand and his parents, for example, the description would sound as follows: “They like photos of myself and my girlfriend doing our normal activities… But avoid sending any photos of scenery or food, because they don’t care.”
Each month, TurnGram skims the customer’s account and select the most appropriate photos, which are printed in a professional print shop and shipped to recipients in the United States via U.S. postal service in one or two business days, Radmand said. The company charges a monthly subscription fee depending on how many photos users prefer to send each month ($3.99 per month for one photo or $4.99 per month for five photos).
Some of TurnGram competitors in the photo printing space are Snapfish (acquired by HP in 2005 for $300 million), which prints photos on mugs and calendars, and Groovebook, which puts photos into a monthly photo book for $2.99 per month. More locally, Boston-based startup The Silver Post is offering to print photos and messages on behalf of the sender, and mailing them on a postcard to their grandma. Radmand noted that other companies rely on the user to choose, edit, crop and upload their photos, while TurnGram does all of this for the user.
Currently, TurnGram is in the process of closing its first angel round, which will be used to keep developing the service, do marketing and advertising, as well as grow the userbase.
Radmand didn’t disclose the number of customers, but added that the breakdown of the userbase is around 80 percent regular customers and 20 percent artist and corporate offices. The company, which has a team of three members, works out of the Accomplice office in Cambridge, on the third floor of the HubSpot building.