Groove Book founders Julie and Brian Whiteman are taking new school technology and putting it in an old school package with their popular photo book app. They hope the Sharks will get in the groove in episode 515 on January 10.
The Groove Book photo book app is a free app, available on the Apple iStore, that helps people organize their smart phone photos the old-fashioned way: as printed pictures in a small photo book. Once you download the app, you can subscribe to the Groove Book service for $2.99 per month; subscribers get a 4.5" x 6.5" photo book with 40-100 pictures delivered each month. The pictures are automatically downloaded from your smart phone's photos, so there's nothing to think about.
Subscribers can control which photos get printed each month – after all, who wants that close-up of your eyeball from a failed “selfie?” The photos in the book are perforated for easy removal, if that's what you want to do with them. You can cancel or suspend the service at any time and even share books with friends and family.
My Take on Groove Book
Every Christmas, I print up a fancy photo book for my parents with a “year in review” theme. They enjoy looking through it and it's a cherished gift each year. Groove Book accelerates that process and brings it to a monthly level. Knowing how well received our annual books are, I can only imagine what my parents would say if they got monthly photos; they would LOVE IT. As a “grandparent photo management app” alone, Groove Book is a winner.
What puzzles me is how they make money. $2.99 barely covers shipping the photo books, let alone printing them. My guess is Groove Book helps capture people and their photos for “up sell” opportunities, whether it be additional photo books from the phone or other, premium photo products and printing services.
Do Sharks get in the Groove?
Apps are always a conundrum in the Shark Tank. The Sharks either love them or hate them, with very little grey area. Groove Book is around two years old as of the original air date – very “old” for an App. If they've been around for two years, they either have a bottomless bucket of venture capital or they're making money. My guess is the latter.
Groove Book is a cool concept, even the Sharks are sure to see the simplicity and value of the product. The Sharks will likely have the same question I did: “How does this app business make money?” Mark Cuban seems the most logical “target” for the Whitemans, but the other “techie Sharks” may like the business, too. I don't think Daymond or Lori will make a play for Groove Book, but if the Whitemans can answer the money question authoritatively and their balance sheet is good, they will field multiple offers. I'm “IN” with an extra book every month for my mom!
See what Groove Book fans say in this video: