When it comes to start-ups, there are few, if any, that can match the story of the one that developed PushPic, a new location-based photo app that will be available in the App Store next week. A unique app that was selected as the best one by the organizer of a world-wide start-up contest, PushPic promises to bring people together, help businesses get new customers, even help people find their lost pets – and maybe even help bring about world peace, with its three partners hailing from the U.S., Israel, and Dubai.
That Israeli partner is Paul Caruso, an oleh from Florida who met his partners, Lance Beaudry and Khizer H. Schon, during his college years. Just off a stint in the IDF, Caruso, who is head of business development at PushPic (Beaudry and Schon are CTO and CEO respectively), described what he said was “a unique location-based photo sharing app, that takes the best of apps like Snapchat, Groupon, and Pinterest, and improves on them.”
PushPic lets users share photos and videos with anyone in a their immediate geographical area, for as long as they want, without the “remorse” that comes with stored photos that seemed like a good idea at the time, but come back to haunt their owner. You can send a photo or video with a caption to anyone within a certain radius (up to 10 miles), and keep it in the system for up to a week, at which point it disappears. You can also view content that others push, commenting on it and communicating with the sender. It’s actually a simple, neat idea that makes a lot of sense, says Caruso – except that, before him and his partners, no one had thought of it before.
According to Caruso, his “killer app” has a million and one uses. “You can use it to share news about what is going on around you, check out good places to eat that others have posted, or even send out a photo of your lost dog, so that others in the area can keep an eye out for it,” said Caruso. “Your network is completely dependent on your location, there is no following and no friending.”
The app is free, but Caruso and his partners intend to make money from businesses, which will be charged for sending out messages on the network. “Businesses can send out messages about specials to anyone in a geographical area, so they can get new customers who walk in on impulse, bargain hunters, and curious passersby. This will be a great opportunity for them, because they will be able to reach anyone near their business, sending them a coupon or offer to get them to come in,” he said.
PushPic came in second place as the audience’s favorite at the recently-held Elevator Pitch event at the Azrlieli Center, but even more important, said Caruso, his start-up was the one selected as most likely to succeed by the organizer of that event, Philippe Telio, who has seen hundreds of start-ups over the past few years in the International Startup Festival and Elevator World Tour. “That’s a pretty good vote of confidence,” said Caruso.
In fact, Caruso added, “the morning of the event I finished my guard duty at 2:30 AM and boarded the bus at 5:40 in the morning to Tel Aviv to head to the competition.”
Caruso made aliya a few years ago, after college, “because I wanted to serve in the IDF, but mostly because I was fascinated by the idea of the Start-Up Nation. Israel has more companies on the Nasdaq than all the countries of Europe combined, and the whole world comes here looking for ideas. What goes on in Israel is just amazing.”
And the fact that one of his partners is from Dubai is another reason to love PushPic, said Caruso. “For us, it’s about business, and PushPic is no different than the dozens of other Israeli companies that do business in the Gulf states.” Caruso, along with his partners Beaudry, a Christian, and Schon, a Muslim, got along just fine in college, as they do now. “Khizer called me to wish me a happy Hanukah and I called him to wish him a kareem (sweet) Ramadan, and we both called Lance to wish him a Merry Christmas,” he said. “Maybe our next app should be one that teaches politicians how to get along.”