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Mike Moritz

How Color, the Insanely Ambitious and Well-Funded Social Photo App, Could Win

Yes, the amount of money that has been raised by Color, the social, mobile photo app founded by Lala founder and serial entrepreneur Bill Nguyen and launched for free just last night for iPhone and Android, is absurd. It's hard to decide which part is crazier: That a single mobile application raised $41 million from the likes of Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank before it even launched, or that $25 million of that reportedly came just last week after one demonstration. "Nguyen showed Color to Sequoia megapartner Mike Moritz early last week. Within 24 hours Sequoia had committed $25 million and put partner Doug Leone on the board. Moritz, says Nguyen, “got the ‘wow’ moment of doing something together, not a day after like on Facebook", Forbes reports. Apart from the bona fides of Ngyuen and his six well-credentialed co-founders, who include BillShrink founder Peter Pham and former LinkedIn chief scientist DJ Patil, what do all of these smart investors see in a single-app company whose first overtures to the public have been weirdly restaurant-centric? FastCompany: "'When I go to a restaurant or public event or cafe, don't I want to know some of these people around me?" [Nguyen] says. 'We thought we could build something that would allow you to get to know everyone else that is not already your Facebook friend.'" TechCrunch: "Say you walk into a restaurant with twenty people in it. You sit down at a table with four friends, and start chatting. Then one of your friends pulls out their phone, fires up Color, and takes a snapshot of you and your buddies. That photo is now public to anyone within around 100 feet of the place it was taken. So if anyone else in the restaurant fires up Color, they’ll see the photograph listed in a stream alongside other photos that have recently been taken in the vicinity." Forbes again: "The potential business model for now (and it is sure to change) is charging stores and restaurants for the right to show their Color photos in people’s streams based on time and a user’s location." But those $41 million aren't really about breaking the ice between early-adopter strangers in restaurants, are they?

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