What if there was an app that tracked its popularity through the intangible — the memories linked to photos rather than the photos themselves; or conversations about who, what, where and when the photo was taken, rather than the number of “likes”?
That was what Kenneth Wallach and Benjamin Klein were after when they created Anniversary.
The app originated from a conversation Wallach had with some friends in the summer of 2012.
“All my friends were just hanging out and we started talking about prom and how it happened almost three years ago,” Wallach said. “After that, I wrote down a quick note about an app for anniversaries. The following month I went to Delaware and met Ben [Klein], who said it was a good idea. Then we went to Central Perk on Main Street and started sketching from there.”
Anniversary is unlike any other social media app thus far, in that it caters to interpersonal connections for the benefit of a group of close friends or family — by turning a present moment into a future memory.
As more apps toy with the ephemeral (think Snapchat), Anniversary plays on the opposite: nostalgia.
“When you’re with someone, you want to remember certain moments again,” Wallach said, “If you think someone will appreciate that memory, you can pass it along immediately, in a day, a week, or you can pick ‘surprise me’ and send the picture at a random time. It’s all about preserving and remembering those moments.”
The free app showcases an easy-to-use interface with three options to choose from:
- send an anniversary,
- look at the anniversaries you’ve received,
- flip through pictures in your album.
While Wallach and Klein began the development process with strong sketches, it wasn’t until they applied for the University of Delaware Horn Program’s Hen Hatch Funding Competition that they were able to get the support they needed to go from paper to smartphone.
After going into what Wallach called “hyper mode” during the sketch, pitch and presentation process, Anniversary won the Hen Hatch competition in April 2013. As a reward, Wallach and Klein received a $3,600 check and investment pitch advice from Horn Program Director Dan Freeman and entrepreneur and FineStationery.com owner Matt Swanson.
Anniversary launched in the iTunes app store on July 18. It had a strong opening week, with 1,000 downloads, 2,000 created anniversaries and 5,000 anniversary deliveries, according to data supplied by Wallach. Wallach says their development team checks the number of users and other statistics on Google Analytics.
The bootstrapped Anniversary may have started in Delaware, but Wallach and Klein now work out of their homes in New York. Their newest project — besides securing an office space in the city — is approaching people to ask them about technology and making memories.
Despite moving on, Wallach says he’ll never forget the tight-knit tech community in Delaware.
“It was awesome that the scene was so close, that everyone knew each other,” he said. “We’ve maintained our UD ties. I think we get the best of both worlds by keeping in touch with people there but basing ourselves in New York.”