When Israel Shalom transferred his job from Google in Tel Aviv to Google in California 10 years ago, he didn’t have kids yet. Now he has a six-year-old and an almost three-year-old.
His mom, who lives oh-so-many time zones away in Herzliya, checks WhatsApp first thing every morning to see if her son sent new photos of the grandchildren she misses dearly.
Shalom takes plenty of pictures of the kids – so many, in fact, that he sees his phone as a blackhole of thousands of photos and hardly knows which ones to share.
“After the first baby was born, the amount of photos I was taking exploded 10 times overnight. We were sitting on a treasure trove of photos that can create so much joy — but they were rotting on the vine because the tool we have wasn’t made for that onslaught.”
Shalom, a veteran of the Israeli army’s elite 8200 signal intelligence unit and a former product and engineering leader at Google and Dropbox, developed an app called GoodOnes to solve this problem.
His partner in GoodOnes is Aparna Pande, previously GM at Disney, Parents magazine and Mattel. She recently sold her children’s cooking platform, Kidstir, and has a wealth of expertise marketing to families.
Launched in January, GoodOnes provides a personal photo assistant, Ollie, powered by machine learning.
Unafraid to enter the muddled morass of photos stored on the user’s phone, Ollie sifts out the bad photos and recommends which ones to keep, share and even create a photobook from.
You can accept or reject Ollie’s recommendations by swiping right or left — sort of like Tinder for photos. The more you use it, the better Ollie will perform at curating, selecting and weeding through photos.
While there are a lot of photo deletion apps for when you run out of storage, Shalom saw nothing that helps separate the good from the bad.
“The industry to date has been focused on cloud storage, but coming from big tech, I knew we could do something that is quite different,” he says.
“We focused on building a fun and easy-to-use platform to help people go from cluttered camera roll to photo zen.”
Like many alumni of Unit 8200, Shalom included old army buddies in his business venture.
“Over time I built a network of friends in the startup scene both in Israel and the US, and one of my 8200 friends based in New York ended up joining the company. We have one more person from 8200 now in a consulting/advising capacity,” he tells ISRAEL21c.
GoodOnes recently raised $3.5 million in seed funding led by TLV Partners with participation from Liquid2 Ventures (Joe Montana’s fund), as well as Rich Miner (former cofounder of Android), and Peter Welinder (founder of Carousel, sold to Dropbox), among other funders.
“When most people open their photo apps on Apple or Google, they experience anxiety rather than delight,” said Brian Sack of TLV Partners. “Instead of seeing the photos they care about, their gallery is scattered with rubbish. GoodOnes creates a clean photo experience, where every photo they look at has significance and meaning.”
Miner said he was “thrilled to invest” in GoodOnes.
“With the creation of mobile platforms, we ended up delivering powerful computers, digital cameras and streaming devices in everyone’s pocket and we could never have anticipated the volume of new content that would be created,” Miner said. “GoodOnes brings powerful curation to the deluge of photos we’ve all come to accumulate.”
While GoodOnes is very new in the market, Shalom says that users – typically high-velocity photo takers including parents and pet parents — have anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 photos on their camera roll.
He is determined “to make the removing easier and more delightful. Now it’s cumbersome and time consuming. You just swipe right or swipe left, and our AI does half the work.”
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