Instagram's increased popularity among its now 80 million users has ignited dollar signs into the eyes of young entrepreneurs with dreams of making it big and earning even bigger.
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Printsagram, Casetagram and StickyGram are start-ups that have cashed in on Instagram's growing popularity. Printstagram lets users create prints and posters with their Instagram pictures. Casetagram lets users create iPhone cases with their Instagram photos and StickyGram lets users create stickers based off of their photos. A company called Stitchtagram will make you a pillow from your Instagram image for $64.
"It's a never-ending fountain of free content," says Chris Silva, and analyst at Altimeter Group. "If I'm doing anything graphically based, I'd be foolish to pass this up."
Instagram, which declined to comment while its attainment by Facebook closes, welcomed potential start-ups with what's called an API, software tools that let developers create apps and websites with the look and feel of the original. Silva says he's never seen an app be so widely embraced this way.
With an API, "large and small organizations have gotten savvy about building a business on the backs of others," Silva says.
For Instagram, having these start-ups is only a plus. "The more I can do with my Instagram photos, the more likely I am to use Instagram," Silva says.
Selling more than ten thousand Instagram photos on posters and other goods, George Sylvain, co-founder of Printstagram, a unit of San Francisco-based Social Print Studio says "the numbers do not lie."
He started out selling merchandise based on Facebook products but ran into copyright issues with the huge social network when friends began making things from photos that weren't their own.
Instagram works for him, he says, because users take the time to crop their photos, add colored filters to enhance their look, and thus "are more likely" to print them.