Collect, Organize, and Share on LoveIt | Interview with Ron LaPierre Co-Founder & CEO

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Yes, LoveIt  founders agree that their layout is familiar and to our expectation they say it is intentional but don’t raise any fingers, they have a great reason for it.

They say,” Because we’ve learned it’s an easy format for people to use.”

No fuss, TechZulu caught up with Ron LaPierre, Co founder and CEO LoveIt and we bet you will love it.

What is LoveIt and why the name?

LoveIt is a site for individuals and groups to discover, collect, organize and share images they love in public or private collections.

We chose the name “LoveIt” to emphasize that it’s a place where you can easily share images of everything you love, find people who have similar tastes and discover new things you may not have found otherwise.

 When was it launched?

We started building LoveIt at the beginning of 2012. We launched in private beta on May 23 and opened up to the public without invitations required on June 7.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

I co-founded LoveIt with Tom Soulanille and Wei Guo alongside our two active board members, Harry Tsao and Talmadge O’Neill.

We’ve all worked with each other at various points in our careers and wanted to find a way to work together again. Tom and I met early in our careers at GoTo.com where we also met our Board Members, Harry and Talmadge. Our third co-founder, Wei, was brought into the fold through Harry and Talmadge’s last venture, MeziMedia, which was eventually sold to Valueclick.

What inspired you to launch LoveIt?

We did some informal research toward the end of 2011 when the “pinning” phenomenon emerged because we found it very interesting. We asked some power pinners what they liked and what they thought would make the pinning experience better. The feedback primarily fell into three categories: better ways to discover new content, better organization tools and the option to have private collections.

When we discussed the feedback we saw an opportunity to use our backgrounds in search and discovery to help us stand out from the competition. We’re interested in being at the leading edge of how people search and explore the web based on images. We started building LoveIt to refine social discovery and visual curation by changing the way people search for and share images.

Any funding yet, if yes how much and by who?

We’ve secured $6M in Series A funding from Juvo Capital and PG Ventures.

What is your business model?

We’re fortunate that our primary investors are also very active Board Members who are working with us closely to build a great product that’s engaging for users. They’ve provided $6M and given us the charge to bring in 10 million active users, at which point we’ll figure out a revenue model that makes sense. We’re focused on the technology and the users first.

Who is your target user?

We’re a social site and ultimately the public will tell us what our demographic is, but our expectation is that our audience will include everyone who loves to look at and share images. So we’re targeting women and men, and aim to keep the content PG-13.

What is your driving force, energy?

Our passionate entrepreneurial spirit brought us together to build LoveIt. Our mission is to create a dynamic platform with powerful tools that provide the most engaging user experience possible.

Have you had any challenges?

Our biggest challenge has been to quickly build a product for a very competitive space that includes formidable players. Challenges like that aren’t really resolved as the competition isn’t going away anytime soon, so the key is to have a solid understanding of what we’re going to deliver, always be listening to the customer, and follow through.

Another challenge we face is building awareness in a market with a lot of competition. We need to cut through the clutter and establish ourselves as a platform that is here to stay because we have a lot to offer.

How do you Differ From Pinterest?

Pinterest built a good product that tapped in to a desire from users to experience and share images in a new way. Based on our research and discussions with active Pinterest users, we identified a market need for a product with more functionality and flexibility. So while we may look similar on the surface, the tools and capabilities we’ve built under the hood deliver a superior user experience.

Initially, our primary differences fall into three categories: discovery, organization and collaboration outlined below and here’s a quick 90-second video that shows Why We’re Different. As we grow, we will continue adding new features that will set us apart.

Discovery: We’ve built a patent-pending recommendation engine to help users discover incredible new images and new people with similar tastes. In addition, LoveIt connects people with their friends – and helps them discover other people, brands, websites and blogs that share similar visual tastes. For example if you tell us you like “Food & Drink” we’ll recommend content from all of our sources that cover latest foodie trends.

Easy Organization: LoveIt takes organization to the next level with convenient and intuitive drag-and-drop tools to rearrange images from one collection to another. For example if you’ve started a “Cars & Rides” collection that’s gotten too big to be manageable, you can quickly separate the collection into smaller groups of “Classic Cars,” “Concept Cars” and “Motorcycles” by simply clicking-and-dragging the images into new collections. 

Collaboration: LoveIt offers people private collections so they can collaborate with colleagues on work projects or with friends on travel plans or for surprise parties. For example a graphic designer could share their work with a client and they would be able to easily give feedback by commenting on each image directly and privately. All away from the curious eyes of their competitors. Or a group of friends planning a trip to Vegas could create a private collection to figure out all of the restaurants and clubs they want to visit.

What’s coming next for LoveIt?

We’ve today released a number of new features that were requested by our community.

The Content Importer  will enable users import their entire Pinterest boards or multiple images from their account to share on LoveIt. While initially built to allow users to import their content from Pinterest to LoveIt, additional sites will be added based on users’ requests.

Multiplicity allows user to quickly “love” several of their images in one simple step from anywhere users keep them, such as Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and the user’s blog. These images can be added to one collection or various collections with similar or unique descriptions.

Batch Uploads  enable users to highlight and upload numerous images from personal computers. This allows users to share more of their personal, offline image collections with friends, family and other interested parties.

Other additional new features include offering Twitter as an alternative to Facebook registration, enhanced Facebook functionality with open graph integration, the ability to find Facebook friends who are using LoveIt and invite Facebook friends to join LoveIt.

The Content Importer tool includes an algorithm to automatically credit the original content source as a user brings images into LoveIt. Removing extra clicks improves the overall social discovery experience by taking people directly to the originally bookmarked source of the image, and to the valuable content the source provides along with the actual image.

And we have no favoritism, we’re also providing a code for websites that want to block LoveIt users from adding the content from their sites to LoveIt collections. The code can be copied from the LoveIt website and pasted on any other website.

Any user stats or testimonies at the moment?

There is a lot great conversations happening, doubters should search @LoveIt on Twitter to prove,but here are a few of my favorite Tweets from our users:

If only there were a way to transfer all my photos from @Pinterest to @Loveit! — @cathiemaud

I love @loveit because they care and listen to user :) you should totally dump pinterest and move there oh dont forget to love/follow me :D — @cammipham

It seems that every day, I get more impressed by @LoveIt – they’re making all the right moves :-) — @inspirationguy

@LoveIt Love your responsiveness. That trait will assure your success. — @RobSchnapp

Thanks for the retweet and follow @LoveIt! Great 2 see a social photo site that appeals to wide age and gender groups + share w small groups — @kenforesti

Loving some of the conversations I am having on @LoveIt. #Foodies and #geeks rules. #whyiloveit http://bit.ly/MJZg8O@amberwest

My blog post about why @LoveIt is better than Pinterest is my most read through search engines now. People want to know about the Squirrel<3 — @uponacloud

PurePhoto is loving @loveit! #whyiloveit – because it’s a cooler version of Pinterest. Join today @ http://loveit.com . #social #curation — @purephoto

Hands down, no contest, @loveit knocks the socks off of @pinterest — @iamryno

 A Word to our Readers.

Yes! We love that you’re raising the profile of the Tech scene here in Southern California and appreciate you taking the time to learn more about LoveIt.

We’d also like to let TechZulu readers know that even if they aren’t LoveIt users yet, we’re open to feedback and would be interested in hearing about features they’d like to see us build. We’re very social and are communicating through all of the major social platforms like TwitterFacebookG+ and YouTube.

Cheers!

Sam Wakoba

Sam Wakoba travels around the world's technology hubs and events writing about startups, VC’ s and ventures. Spends nights reviewing trending gadgets, ICT initiatives, and disrupting technology.

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