Pressgram Blog

An App Startup Story



As I had mentioned previously, I’m starting my discovery process of raising some Angel/Venture Capital for Pressgram. I believe there’s an incredible opportunity for this app to grow into the movement we all believe that it can be and I’m going to need more funds to keep this puppy going.

You might be thinking, Why do you need more money – didn’t fund it via Kickstarter?! and the answer is pretty straight-forward: Yes, Kickstarter has helped me get this off the ground but it won’t keep the app going unless I’m able to find more money for the increased needs that I list below.

AngelList is one of the better and more well-known spots to get some attention, get introductions, and such. So I spent some time this week hacking it together – it’s not 100% complete but it’s complete enough to go public and to start sharing – there’s still a bunch of stuff to add and do though.

My biggest needs for raising money is quite simple:

  1. Server and Data Costs – I anticipate some serious costs to manage the data that could start flowing fairly liberally. I have already done decent testing and cost-scaling scenarios and if the app receives a good amount of attention that it will suck my personal bank account dry.
  2. Talent – I may need to build a team sooner rather than later including an amazing designer and serious iOS engineer.
  3. Other – There are many other costs associated with evolving an app into a business and I’ll need coverage there as well.

Feel free to pass this on and share it with others – and if you know anyone who wants to be a part of something really cool then connect me with them!


  1. awesome, I’m excited to see you taking the next step. #pressgramnation

  2. Can’t wait to see Pressgram to fruition and while I completely get the financial side of things with the cost of cloud hosting, etc. in guess I didn’t realize just much a part of Pressgram that would be. In was thinking it as more of an app for using your own WordPress site to replace Instagram for sharing photos. I didn’t quite understand the scope of the SaaS end of things.

    Raising VC always raises red flags for me. VC means your investors are going to be concentrating on one thing and that is maximizing the return on their investment through an exit which typically ends with the users of the app being screwed as its either folded into another competing service, left to wither and die a long drawn out death… or simply killed immediately in a talent acquisition.

    Most acquisitions don’t end we’ll for the product being acquired, or rather the users of the product being acquired. And VC’s invest with an exit in mind. That’s the whole point.

    It’s why we’ve spurned VC funding. We aren’t running things with an exit in mind. We are building a longterm sustainable and profitable business. But that isn’t what most VC’s want, they want hyper growth and a financial windfall exit as the goal.

    Automattic has been in a unique position to have a group of investors that have allowed Matt to run things the way he wants to run them. But that is a rare thing. Very rare.

    Be careful. Don’t become the very thing Pressgram was supposed to be… The anti-Instagram. So tread very carefully when it comes to VC and angel investing.

    Which this all brings up a good point, what is your monetization strategy with Pressgram? If its not a direct to self-hosted WordPress solution and will require cloud services to power things which has you considering VC funding due to the costs… how were you planning on monetizing Pressgram?

    • carl,

      your comment means that you haven’t been tracking with the blog daily, which is fine as no one expects you to, but i’ve answered most of these things already. the simple answer is that the data is for the cloud-based services that’ll create the experience for the social networking piece.
      angel investing is just that – angel investing. this isn’t the first time i’ve raised rounds and i’m looking for wealthy individuals who care about giving back, much less a return. these people are motivated to see change in our economy, not an economical return.

      • Thanks John, I appreciate the clarification. And no, I haven’t been following things as closely. Just bits and pieces. So I appreciate the clarification.

        I saw VC in this post and red flags went off because of past experiences, as well as seeing the downfall of so many apps after the VC’s got the exit they were seeking when they invested to begin with. But smaller scale investments and angel investments are certainly an entirely different story. I definitely see Angel and VC as two different things, well they are the same thing… but different levels and often different motivations.

        Can’t wait to see the finished product and put it to use myself. I don’t use Instagram or Flickr right now, been waiting patiently for Pressgram and can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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