Technical.ly’s Editorial Calendar explores a different topic each month. The August 2018 topic is Technologists of Color. These stories highlight the contributions of technologists and entrepreneurs of color across Technical.ly’s five markets.
When looking to share on social media, most people have no shortage of photos to choose from. But when it comes to sharing, JaBre’ Jennings sees one step that’s keeping posts from going out into the world: the caption.
The words can seem like a small thing next to an eye-catching photo. But when talking to friends about Facebook and Instagram, Jennings found “a lot of people weren’t using it as often because of the constant demand to post original content.”
So for the thousands of backlogged photos that users have, Jennings and Juwan Nicholson created an app that provides thousands of captions.
Baltimore-based Caption Any Photo has a database of blurbs from a variety of categories specific to the situation, whether it’s a selfie or a back-to-school photo. The app uses machine learning and data analytics to display a feed of captions from a specific category, and allows users to post to social media platforms through the app.
The cofounders discovered a talent for coming up with pithy posts while doing social media outreach in the Student Government Association at University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and continued to find their skills were in demand while working with the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.
The idea for the app came together when Jennings enrolled in grad school at UMUC where he was assigned to create an app mock-up as part of a class. The results produced a realization that, “This is something that we should actually look into,” Jennings said.
After releasing the app, they looked to build up the buzz by word-of-mouth. So they went to college homecoming events with an Instagram cutout, and got students to try it out. And they traveled beyond Baltimore.
“We went up and down the East Coast with it,” Jennings said.
Even at events they aren’t attending, the app also allows for place-specific captions for gathering spots through a feature called GeoCategories.
With a six-person team and the app launched on the App Store, the startup is looking to keep growing its base of users — and clever phrases.
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