Togethera is a simple, private social network for your family, partner and closest friends. Founded by Sokratis Papafloratos (exit to Yell Group, Maserati top 100 entrepreneurs) and Matt Dempsey, Togethera is backed by a stellar group of investors (founders of Secret Escapes, Wonga, E-courier, Huddle, Forward, Adzuna & Faction to name a few). Togethera’s mobile apps have been featured and recommended by both Apple and Google.
Togethera is an effortless way to share photos, videos and updates with the people closest to you in absolute privacy. It provides a simple interface, that’s free of ads or complicated settings, making it accessible to anyone, regardless of how tech-savvy they are. You can access Togethera using the iOS or Android apps, a web browser and even via email.
The company was started by Sokratis Papafloratos and Matt Dempsey. They both have geographically dispersed families, with some members being complete technophobes. Prior to using Togethera, Sokratis’ mother had never used email and Matt’s grandmother found technology absolutely terrifying, having suffered a stroke ten years ago. They wanted an easy way to share their lives with their loved ones, in a simple, private way, but couldn’t find an existing solution that really worked for the whole family. Having worked in the tech industry for years (starting their own companies and working for giants like Facebook and Vodafone), Sokratis and Matt decided to do something about this problem, so they founded Togethera. Along the way, they discovered that they didn’t only better connect with their family on Togethera, but also with some of their closest friends.
Here is what some of the people who use Togethera have to say:
“Great, private, photo-sharing app! I love that Togethera lets you share photos with specific groups. And best of all, it’s private!! Where social media has gotten out of control with who can see what, Togethera is as private as you make it. Another awesome feature is that you don’t have to have a smartphone to use it– Grandparents, for example, who don’t have smartphones can still be included because of its online access! So glad I came across this app.”
“Throughout my pregnancy I had been looking for an easy way to share photos with our family members who are spread around the country that would work for elderly relatives who don’t use social media, as well as tech-savvy siblings who live on their devices. Togethera has been a joy to use, and has fit the bill perfectly. Wish all apps worked this seamlessly.”
“No privacy worries, simple to use, does exactly what it needs (keeping the family connected across timezones) without unnecessary features. Love it.”
“Really good app and after searching for so long for a simple but useful photo sharing app, all my family and some friends use it to share photos. Highly recommended.”
- Traditional social media has become inundated with advertising, over-sharing and “friendships” that we no longer care about. Our privacy has been wiped out and we’re no longer sure what happens to the content we share, who gets to see it and what rights we have on it.
- Messaging apps offer a limited alternative. They’ve replaced SMS and phone calls, but from our experience they were never intended as a way of sharing your life with those who matter most and a home for your most important memories.
- Email is a mess and file storage systems are dry and boring.
- Sokratis and Matt faced these problems every time they tried to share moments in their lives with their families and closest friends, who are spread out across a number of countries (and continents). That’s why they created Togethera.
Togethera is a private, “un-social” network for your family, partner and closest friends. It lets you share photos, videos, updates (and soon location) with the people who matter most in your life. There are no public profiles, so no-one can add you as a friend, “follow” or subscribe to you. Your content is presented in a beautiful, clutter-free timeline and everything is designed with simplicity and longevity in mind. This simplicity allows anyone to use Togethera, including grandparents. There are zero ads and we never sell your data to third parties.
Traction and achievements (to date)
- Launched native iOS and Android apps in July and September 2014 respectively. They have been featured by both Apple under “Best New Apps” in the UK and Google under “New and Updated Apps”. The app is available in Germany, France, Italy, Russia, South Korea, India and over 100 other countries.
- Featured in popular press outlets, such as The Sunday Times, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Techcrunch and The Next Web.
- Created a talented product team (ex-Facebook, Techstars, Yell, Riot, Silent Circle).
- Translated Togethera into 17 languages for iOS and Android.
- More than 65,000 downloads.
- More than 450,000 photos shared.
- Raised seed funding from a stellar group of tech entrepreneurs and investors.
We’re introducing three revenue streams:
- Monthly subscription for a Premium account that offers enhanced features (such as Dropbox backup, longer videos and more photos per post)
- Monthly subscriptions forbeautiful auto-generated photo booklets with last month’s best photos (e.g. Grandma can receive a printed booklet of your family’s memories from last month, every month, with no effort from you).
- Order prints of your favourite photos (standard 6×4” and 7×5” prints, larger canvasses and photo frames etc)
We’re building on the solid foundation we’ve laid over the last 18 months. Fund raising enables us to:
- Grow our product and engineering team by hiring world-class talent.
- Deliver our product roadmap, which includes the business model.
- Invest in marketing and build an international, trusted brand.
UK key market indicators (UK is a sample – Togethera is a global product)
- 2M families
- £20b total gift market (Verdict, UK Retail Trends 2007)
- £4b on gift cards (£151 /household)
- Annual revenue for Photobox: £173M
Timing & opportunity
- We’re taking more and more photos every day (“approaching a trillion per year”)
- Families are becoming more geographically dispersed (number of expats to reach 57M by 2017)
- Tablet and smartphone adoption amongst the elderly and children is exploding (“over-50’s will be the age group experiencing the fastest year on year rises in smartphone penetration across developed markets”, according to Deloitte)
- Social media users to grow from 2B in 2015 to ~2.5B in 2018
- We’re a lot more aware of privacy and how it’s being compromised (“80% of those who use social networking sites say they are concerned about third parties like advertisers or businesses accessing the data they share on these sites.”)
- Invest in paid user acquisition: hire or work with external marketing agency (Facebook ads for app installs is key channel to test)
- Keep focusing on PR: hire or work with external resource
- Nurture strong relationships we’ve already established with Apple and Google and continue to be featured
- Create distribution partnerships with major media brands and mobile operators
- Keep iterating on product to further differentiate, improve retention and fuel organic growth
Competitor Weaknesses compared to Togethera (based on Togethera research)
- Complicated sharing/privacy options
- Semi-public by default
- Intimidating for technophobes
- Many posts you don’t care about and ads
- Semi-public by default
- Content creation on mobile only
- Increasing complexity/features
- Difficult to access historical content
- Hard to have conversation around a specific photo or video
- Mobile only for most applications
- Exclusive focus on babies
- Complicated sharing/privacy options
- Intimidating for technophobes
- Inbox mixed with unrelated/spam
- Hard to look back and reminisce on old content
Dropbox/file storage systems
- Mainly file storage, with no social interaction
- Difficult to share to multiple, separate groups
Sokratis Papafloratos, Co-founder and CEO
Sokratis is the co-founder and CEO of Togethera. Previously, he had co-founded and led TrustedPlaces, a social, local reviews business, which was acquired by Yell Group. Togethera is his third startup, as prior to TrustedPlaces he headed up Operations for Wideray – a Sequoia backed company. Sokratis started his career at Vodafone and holds an MEng in Electronic Engineering. He is an angel investor in Secret Escapes, Calm.com and Spatch and was recently recognised by the Centre for Entrepreneurs in the Maserati 100 as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the UK who support the next generation.
Matt Dempsey, Co-founder and Head of Product & Design
Matt is a UX designer and frontend developer, passionate about simple, usable, beautiful products. He’s had a formal education in Graphic Design and has worked on the web since the age of 13 with a number of startups and large organisations, including as a co-founder of Camayak.com. In 2011 Matt was headhunted by Facebook’s design team in California for a Product Design internship, while still at university. He’s also helped millions of people better understand the film Inception and their hatred of Comic Sans.
Red Davis, Senior iOS developer
Red leads iOS development at Togethera. He’s been programming since he was a teenager and has released numerous applications for iOS. He was co-founder of Riot, which developed a number of tools for Mac clients. When the Riot team disbanded, Red’s co-founders ended up at Dropbox and Heroku, while Red joined us to create Togethera for iOS. He lives in Bath and enjoys watching and playing rugby for his local team.
Jack Wall, Senior Android developer
Jack leads Android development at Togethera. He started programming before he was a teenager (always keen to get one over on Red) and he met Sokratis when they were both at Yell. Prior to Togethera, he had co-founded Proxly, a NFC startup helping small business better engage with their customers, which was part of the Wayra incubator. Jack is also a Techstars alumni. When not obsessing about all things Android, he loves writing High Fantasy novels, which he unfortunately doesn’t share with anyone except himself.
Stavros Korokithakis, Technology Advisor
Stavros wrote his first piece of code when he was 15 and he’s been creating software ever since. He worked with Sokratis at TrustedPlaces and is currently working at Silent Circle, the secure communications company. At Togethera he helps with high-level architecture decisions along with our infrastructure setup. He’s created one of the most popular, fast tutorials for Python and used to be ranked first in Reddit karma. He now spends his spare time more productively, honing his photography skills.
Alex Hoye – Founder Faction Skis
Alexios Vratskides – Founder of Persado and Upstream Systems
Andrew Bredon – Founder of Secret Escapes
Andy McLoughlin – Partner at SoftTech VC and founder of Huddle
Chris Burke – Former CTO of Vodafone and Chairman at MusicCubed
Doug Monro – Founder of Adzuna
Errol Damelin – Founder of Wonga
George & Nick Embiricos – Angel investors
Howzat Partners – Investors in Trivago, TrustedPlaces, Hubbub and Academia.edu
Ivan Mazour – Founder of Ometria
Kirill Makharinsky – Founder of Ostrovok and Quid
Neil Hutchinson – Founder of Forward Group
Nic Brisbourne – MD of Forward Ventures
Sakis Georgiadis – Partner and Hermes GPE
Tom Allason – Founder of Shutl and eCourier
These notes should be read alongside the Financial Snapshot
Key sales drivers:
- Organic user growth that is driven by: viral, world of mouth and promotions by Apple and Google in their respective stores.
- Other key sales drivers: Paid acquisition via channels like Facebook and conversion from free users into paid customers.
USE OF FUNDS:
- Primary expense is expansion of the product team.
- Secondary expense is marketing.
EXPENSES AND PROFITABILITY:
- We will continue to maintain a lean approach to investment and focus our expenses on recruitment and building a world-class team.
- We expect our profit margins to grow as our revenue from premium accounts increases and we optimise our relationships with print partners.
EXISTING DEBT OR EQUITY INVESTMENTS:
- Equity: We have raised two equity rounds so far. £250,000 in November 2013 (at a pre-money valuation of £1,135,000) and £271,000 in July 2014 (at a pre-money valuation of £2,735,000)
- Debt: There is a director’s loan for £14,039.24, provided by Sokratis Papafloratos, which is not due to repaid until a liquidity event for the company. It draws no interest.
- Current burn rate is £24,000 and we don’t need to raise until October 2015.
- Next round: The company may raise further equity funding in the next 12-24 months, depending on user and revenue growth.
The Exit Strategy
Mobile usage is transforming the world and we’re still at the beginning. Companies that succeed in capturing the hearts and minds of consumers with a compelling proposition are commanding huge valuations, as demonstrated by the acquisitions of Whatsapp ($19B), Instagram ($1B) and Snapchat ($10B latest funding valuation).
We’re operating in a unique space, taking a different approach where revenue and a sound business model take precedence over viral, explosive growth. We’re building a company with a sustainable, long-term future. Potential exit paths include:
- An IPO in the UK, as the market for successful listings is maturing.
- A trade sale to a large technology or media company, with a particular audience overlap or strategic alignment (e.g. Disney because of their family focus or Xerox because of their printing business).
Rewards with monetary value over £1000 can affect the amount of EIS you may be able to claim. Please obtain independent tax advice if there is any concern as Crowdcube does not provide legal or tax advice.
· Invest £50 and get
Togethera Investor Supporter: Premium account for a year
· Invest £100 and get
Togethera Investor Friend: Premium accounts for 4 friends or family members for a year
· Invest £250 and get
Togethera Associate Investor: Premium accounts for 10 friends or family members for a year
· Invest £1,000 and get
Togethera Principal Investor: Monthly photo book subscription for 12 months; Premium accounts for 20 friends and family members for a year; Invitation to a one-off product, strategy and planning event with the Togethera founding team
· Invest £10,000 and get
Togethera Partner Investor: All benefits of Principal Investor; Invitation to annual strategy and planning event with the Togethera founding team; Inclusion on our About Us page with your name and photo
· Invest £100,000 and get
Togethera Platinum Investor: All the benefits of Partner Investor plus quarterly dinner with the founding team
This company is offering both A and B shares. If you invest £10,000 or more you will receive A-shares which have full voting rights. If you invest less than £10,000 you will receive B-shares which have no voting rights or pre-emption.
Togethera has submitted their plans to raise money, details of their structure and trade etc. to HMRC and has been given advance assurance that the proposed share issue is likely to qualify for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax reliefs relating to their shares.
Tax relief is available to individuals only, who subscribe for shares in an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Relief is at 30 per cent of the cost of the shares, to be set against the individual’s Income Tax liability for the tax year in which the investment was made.
If you sell, give away, exchange or otherwise dispose of shares, tax reliefs can reduce your Capital Gains Tax bill. Your shares must meet certain conditions to qualify for these reliefs.
The availability of any tax relief, including EIS and SEIS, depends on the individual circumstances of each investors, and may be subject to change in the future. If you are in any doubt about the availability of any tax reliefs, or the tax treatment of your investment, you should obtain independent tax advice before proceeding with your investment.
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