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Pixable launches Photo Mosaics tool

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Online photo service Pixable is launching a new Photo Mosaics feature today, which lets users select an image and then use a number of their other photos, in a smaller size, to turn the selected image into a mosaic. This photo mosaic can be shared online for free, but users can also order a higher res print to be delivered to them.

The photo mosaic tool allows users to choose any photo from their Facebook network, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket, or their hard drive. Although Pixable claims it takes only 5 minutes to create the mosaic, it took me a bit longer, and you need at least 100 smaller photos to create the mosaic. In addition, the algorithm Pixable developed for creating these mosaics works better with some photos than with others; the mosaic is optimized when the chosen image has great color contrast and bright colors. If you don’t follow these (unstated) guidelines, you end up seeing more of the smaller photos and it’s harder to make out the larger image. The next iteration, according to co-founder and COO Andres Blank, will be allowing users to create a mosaic for their Facebook profile photo, made up of the profile photos of all of their friends.

Pixable has already tested the tool at some universities, including the University of Pennsylvania, where over 30 students experimented with it, creating mosaics of the UPenn logo or their fraternity names. Blank sees this tool being useful for events, as it works well for logos (pictured below is an example Pixable created for VentureBeat). If you want to try it out, the company’s offering a free poster each to the first 50 VentureBeat readers to use it — use this coupon code: 50VB.

The photo mosaic posters are currently offered in 14” x 11” for $8.95 and 17” x 11” for $9.95, and the company plans to introduce other sizes soon. Mosaics are available in either landscape or portrait versions. Posters are printed on acid-free card stock and laminated with a UV coating.

Several competitive services exist, including Picture Mosaics, which provides photo mosaic posters and starts at $79.95, Design a Mosaic, which provides a variety of poster sizes and quality options starting at $24.95, and Pixisnap, which is free but only allows you to use the mosaics digitally, as a wallpaper or Myspace profile photo. Pixable is unique in that it offers both digital usages and physical prints of users’ photo mosaics.

Pixable says it currently has over 25,000 users, with over 20,000 albums created since launch last year.

The New York-based company has raised over $500,000 from angel investors, including Edward Roberts (the director of the MIT Entrepreneurship center), Freddy Kerrest (founder of Saasure), Spain’s Grupo Intercom, and McKinsey & Company Partners Alexander Manchon, Javier Gil, and Borja Borrero, who worked with cofounder Inaki Berenguer in the firm’s Spain office. James Joaquin, founder of Ofoto, recently joined the company’s board of advisors. Pixable is planning to raise a first round from institutional investors around April of this year.
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