When Mark Hennings launched his first photo sharing app — priced at $150 — someone downloaded it within the first night.
Not too shabby for a rookie app developer from Omaha with an app priced 150x the average cost on iTunes.
Hennings named the app LiveBooth. It gave event photographers the opportunity to digitally share images instantly. It also enabled digital sharing of images taken in photo booths (the kind you find at weddings).
“I was so excited to get a download within the first night,” said Hennings. “But then no one downloaded it for a month after that.”
LiveBooth came to an end, but the idea behind it was just getting started.
Around this time, Jeremy Cox, an Austin entrepreneur, reached out to Hennings via email. He had been working independently on a hardware solution for photo booths, using Henning’s app as the software. The two paired up.
After months of working together remotely, the two met at a Denver conference to test what is now known as Simple Booth. It combined Cox’s hardware with Hennings’s apps to create a location-based photo experience connecting brands and consumers in a digital world.
“As a startup, it’s ambitious to take on both software and hardware at the same time,” said Hennings. “But when I got to see his hardware and meet him in person, we knew we had to team up and make Simple Booth really big.”
Simple Booth’s digital photo ecosystem includes a free iPhone app, an event edition app for DIYers who want to use the product on their own iPad and an enterprise HALO product. In all, the system is a comprehensive hardware and software integrated experience that also has a consumer facing iPhone app.
HALO specifically is a dimmable light ring with an iPad enclosed and HALO software installed. The setup invites guests to take photos and gifs without the need for someone manning the station.
Businesses can also upload logos, add custom overlays and branded touch points, capture user emails, automate online galleries, social sharing, remote management, live feeds and more.
To see HALO in person, visit Icenhauer's on Rainey Street where you’ll find a HALO system setup ready to snap shots of you and your friends that you can immediately share after.
Since 2016, Simple Booth has accumulated over 25,000 users with over 2.7 million photos taken via their platform. They’ve also partnered with brands like W Hotels, Pigment, Andrew Murray Vineyards, Bai, Brown-Forman and Jack Morton to offer enterprise on-site photo solutions that enhance a company’s social media content and presence.
The startup currently has 18 employees across offices in Colorado and its home base in Austin. In August, they officially launched with parties at three SPiN ping pong clubs in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. SPiN has been early adopter of the Simple Booth’s HALO platform.
Hennings said they have bootstrapped the launch efforts thus far but are raising a seed round.
“I think we built a really appealing product,” said Hennings. “People now more than ever appreciate simplicity, and we’ve done a great effort to take an old concept like a photo and reinvent it with a great amount of user ease and simplicity.”