In the age where “selfie” is now in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the need for a digital means of filtering your arm’s length facial photos is what prompted the development of the Boston-based photo filter app, Syft.

Syft allows users to re-discover forgotten photos and complies curated daily batches of photos that can be relived and reminisced on in a private group chat.

“People these days are taking more pictures a year than their parents took in their lifetime,” Syft co-chair Eben Pingree said. “People take photos for reasons today that they didn’t ten years ago from selfies to screen shots to picture of your shopping list. Some are meant to be relived, but the process of finding the good ones is daunting and dull. So we want to take something that’s work to people and make it a habit that fosters a conversation with buddies.”

The app uses a one-tap sharing platform that links through public API’s to public data available on Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, smartphone camera rolls and cloud storage. The long-term goal is to take in all digital photos and create a sense of order for users instead of leaving them to dig through multiple mediocre pictures in digital photo albums.


“We don’t save the photos,” Pingree said. We’re not a storage company, or an aggregate program. Instead, we provide links to where the images are stored.”

Pingree and co-founder Max Montgelas started off making a private group chat app that centered on news content based on shared interests about a year and a half ago. When they introduced the photo-filtering feature, they saw that users gravitated towards the sifter. After talking with their users, the two started from scratch to build a platform for photo distribution and group chats.

“It’s a different world today,” Pingree said. “Twenty years ago, you might take one photo in one particular setting. Today, taking 20 photos isn’t even a challenge, but finding the right one in the bunch is.”

Syft launched their app six days ago on an IOS platform as a test run and will push an official launch in July.

Pingree said that as a Bostonian, hometown pride has an added enthusiasm in making a run at Silicon Valley tech companies. After spending 7 years in San Francisco, Pingree decided it was time to bring his innovative energy back to Boston.

“Max and I don’t buy the talk from doubters that say you can only build a great consumer company in Silicon Valley,” Pingree said. “Boston already has some pillar consumer companies that we really admire, and we think being one of the rare consumer social plays in town will actually be a big advantage as we start to ramp up. There’s no place that roots for the home team like Boston, so we want to leverage that loyalty and build something folks can rally around.

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