Featured Startup Pitch: Phontabulous offers a mobile social photo app focused on private, secure sharing

By Editor April 18, 2015

Phontabulous phones



Simple, private and fun photo sharing.


Phontabulous is a simple, private, and fun photo sharing app for Apple and Android devices that enables you to share memories privately. Select photos and friends to begin the private sharing party, and keep the annoying people out!

Keep Your Photos Safe – Your shared photos cannot be downloaded or forwarded unless someone takes a screenshot.

Express Yourself Privately – Tap photo to comment. You didn’t think private sharing meant boring links by email, did you?

Share With Any Phone Contact – That’s right, even with your friends not on Phontabulous. Magic!

Our competencies and beliefs:

Passion for technology and its role in personal communication: We are super passionate about leveraging technology in bringing people closer by digitally connecting them. We believe that our passion enables us to push the limits and take a stand against the titans.

Customer focus: We put highest focus on our users as we strongly believe that our business cannot exist otherwise.

Build quality products: We live for building great quality products, as we believe good marketing can’t sell a bad product.

Learning and adapting mindset: We learn often and quickly adapt, as we believe that the only constant in technology (and life, for that matter) is change.

Challenge the standard dogma: We strongly believe that groundbreaking innovations are born out of challenging the common wisdom and rules.


In April, 2014, I became a first-time uncle as my sister gave birth to twins. At the time, I used to live in Seattle, and our parents were in India. Me, my wife, my parents all were always craving to see the photos of the twins as we didn’t want to miss even a single moment. So we thought to ourselves: “How difficult could it be, given that everyone has a smartphone?”

We quickly realized how wrong we were. With messenger apps, we couldn’t see the twin’s photos on bigger screens, as most of them don’t support tablets. Private sharing apps sent us boring links in email/SMS, and it felt like we were in 2005 all of a sudden. On the other end, my sister was worried about the lack of any meaningful security in all these apps. This motivated me to survey the landscape of personal photo sharing, and I realized that there isn’t a single app that provides private, secure, simple, and fun photo sharing—so, the idea of Phontabulous was born.

You are our target consumer, if one of the following is you:

If you care about personal and private photo sharing; if you care about the security of your shared photos; if you care about having fun while sharing in a personal setting; or if you think photo sharing should always be free.

Phontabulous webscreen


Personal photo sharing on an unparalleled rise: In the global photo sharing landscape, personal photo sharing is on an unparalleled rise. In May, 2014, out of staggering 1.8 billion photos that were shared daily, 1.4 billion were shared on WhatsApp and Snapchat (the rest on Facebook plus Instagram plus Flickr). The WhatsApp plus Snapchat number grew 75 percent to 1.4 billion/day in 2014 from 800 million/day in 2013. In summary, people are frequently sharing photos with a smaller group of close contacts (i.e.: They are personal photo sharing) from their smartphone, and this trend is far from coming to stagnation.

The smartphone is the new camera: Only three percent of college students report to have never taken a photo with a smartphone, with 49 percent reporting to often taking the photos with their smartphone. Sixty percent of all photo takers require some of their shared photos to be stored, as opposed to being shared in an ephemeral manner.

By now, you understand that personal photo sharing from a smartphone is one of the most important consumer markets that is on a path for solid growth.


Today, people use two categories of apps for personal photo sharing.

The first category is prominent messengers—WhatsApp, Snapchat, WeChat, Line, KakaoTalk. Messenger category apps address the general scenario of in-the-moment personal communication, and hence by design do not provide permanent storage for photos.

The second category is private sharing apps, each with 100,000-plus users and a couple over one million users (SmugMug, Photobucket, Carousel, Shutterfly, Snapfish). Most of the apps in this category either provide free storage and sell photo print products or charge for the storage. For almost all the apps in this category, private sharing means sending links in an email/SMS, which is boring and hasn’t changed in the last 10 years. Our survey shows that a majority of smartphone consumers don’t care much about these features—paid storage and print products.

Phontabulous addresses all the pain points described above and provides a unique set of features for consumer photo sharing.

Let’s look at how Phontabulous solves these problems and more.

Phontabulous provides a super-simple and intuitive interface for private photo sharing, so you can have fun by sharing photos with friends and keep annoying people out of your sharing party.

Phontabulous provides cloud storage for your shared photos, so you don’t have to worry about photos clogging up your phone storage or losing photos when you switch or lose your phone.

Phontabulous provides unparalleled security for your photos, so others can’t download or forward your shared photos, unless they take a screenshot.

You know how you can comment on friends’ photos in social apps and how you miss this feature in private sharing apps. Not anymore, as Phontabulous enables you to do just that, in a completely private and personal manner.

Phontabulous also enables you to share photos with anyone in your phone contacts, even those that are not on Phontabulous. If you know someone’s phone number then you can share photos privately with them on Phontabulous.

And this all comes completely free, so you don’t have to pay a single dime for private photo sharing.

To sum it up, Phontabulous addresses all the pain points of the apps that are used for personal photo sharing today and provides a unique set of features for consumer photo sharing.


Free, $0, zip, nada!

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Phontabulous logoHEADQUARTERS: San Jose, California

WEBSITE: www.phontabulous.com

FOUNDER: Rahul Chabukswar 

INVESTORS: Bootstrapped 


TWITTER: @phontabulous

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/phontabulous

LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/company/phontabulous-inc-