reMeet Ink361, An Instagram Web Interface
Who are the visionaries behind Ink361?
The visionaries behind Ink361 are Carel van Apeldoorn (CEO) and Jurg Benders (CTO)
The first version was launched as INKstagram.com and was created by Joshua Inkenbrandt. Carel learned about Instagram and INKstagram in April and directly got excited, created the vision and got in contact with Josh.
Prior to april a few important things had already taken place. In January he had a conversation in Hong Kong with a business associate who spoke about new opportunities they where exploring in the canvas printing business. Carel himself had been involved in export business from China for over 6 years and early on had noticed the potential for giclee prints while visiting the many trade shows in China. In April after learning about instagram he connected all the dots.
Carel was involved in his first internet related business while being in college in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Jurg Benders, one of his business partners from those days lead an successful Internet business for the last 11 years. Jurg also has a love for photography and particular wildlife photography. Carel reached out to Jurg, discussed the new opportunity, and with a history of working together on different ventures over the last 18 years, a deal was quickly made.
Joshua was working at Rdio at the time and was willing to sell the product he created and Jurg and Carel took over and with the help of a small but awesome team of software engineers started working towards the realization of their vision.
What is your mission?
Our mission is to become a place online where mobile photographers and fans of mobile photography feel at home to few, curate, discover, share and buy and sell photos and photo printed products.
We started with Instagram because of a the lack of a web interface, but there is definitely more coming.
“What’s in a name?”
The name is a story by itself. The service started as INKstagram.com based on the last name of Joshua, which is Inkenbrandt. In the second half of 2011 I got approached by Kevin Systrom with a requested to change the name because of the fact that it caused confusion with Instagram users. As per December 2011 we changed our name to Ink361 in a move to create our own identity, independent from Instagram and all the other Insta and Gram initiatives in the market.
Ink361 came together based on the fact that Ink is the nick name of Joshua and it represents the material to get a photo printed. The 361 element refers to the fact that we offer a 360 degree few on all stuff that happens around you and can be viewed via our platform. The additional 1 degree represents the unique experience we offer on Ink361.com.
Describe for our readers the experience that you would like for them to achieve by using your site.
Ink361 likes to offer our user the best, most beautiful and comfortable experience to view, discover, curate, share and trade mobile generated photo content. Our aim is to be best at basics.
For viewing photos we offer users the ability to view all the Instagrams in a grid viewer on different sizes, in a brand new slide show viewer you can view the best photos without any distraction and with the map viewer you learn where photos where taken.
These different viewing options also allow you to discover new photography talent and make new friends. With 1 billion new Instagrams uploaded every month discovering became much more difficult compared to the early days of Instagram. The new relationship page we launched mid September is a tool that can help you to find the hidden gems in a limited amount of time. Find an example of how this works here: http://beta.ink361.com/#!/users/12948352/following
Most importantly in addition to technology we offer we are a business ran by and for people. We take great pride in being easily accessible and will make sure we respond to everybody individually as quick as we can. If you have suggestions or questions either connect via twitter @ink361 or use the feedback option on the site. We also give our perspective on photography via our “daily discoveries” that can be found in our Instagram feed . Last but not least, we hope to challenge our users to become better photographers by joining all our challenges we run regularly and learn from other people who submit their works.
We love the fact that ink361 incorporates community by way of showcase and contests. Can you name some examples of how it has helped you all in getting the word out about ink361?
By showcasing work of great photographers we wanted to extent our identity beyond a technology tool and become a place to learns about new photographers and to get inspired. We have been very particular in work we have featured up to now as it has all been work and photographers that struck us in one way or the other and we believe should get more credit and recognition for their work. Sometimes that can be a a photographer with 50,000 followers but it can also be one of those hidden gems we found with just a few friends in the community.
We will remain active on the path of improving our product while helping to make users find more meaning full content and establish connections with like minded people.
Examples of the how this has helped us can be found on twitter and other social channels everyday, where people make an effort to explicitly share out ink361 and the service we offer. We very much appreciate any initiative because we don’t takes any persons decision to share about ink361 for granted and we do our best to recognize that as good as we can.
What’s next for ink361.com?
We are very excited about the future. We recently received the confidence from a group of Angel investors that are excited about our future plans which allows the team to keep on working full-time to make ink361 the go to place for all mobile photographers. The next few things you can expect from us are a new experience to curate all your photos and the extension of the platform with a marketplace.
If users have ideas on specific features they would like us to develop we would love to hear from you and please email us at support AT ink361 DOT com
We like to thank you in advance for your support and interest in our product and team. The only think we would like you to do if you like our service is to share it with everybody your know because this will allow us to keep on working to improve our product and services every day.
Feel free to check out our latest product release at http://beta.ink361.com
Happy photo sharing!
The Ink361 team