Get to know a Toronto startup: Bliiss

Brides-to-be take note: instructions on downloading the Bliiss app are something you might want to include in your upcoming wedding invitations.

This Toronto startup has created a photo-sharing app for weddings that allows guests to share pictures they take on their smartphones or digital cameras into one online album. Once you've logged your wedding on and invited guests to join, every smartphone or digital camera photo of the big day can be uploaded to a your Bliiss album, viewable on a mobile or web app. Guests can see each other's photos, comment on them, like them, or share them. Pictures appear in the album as they're uploaded, allowing absentees to catch a glimpse of the party they're missing as it happens. Post-wedding, printing photos is easy since the entire online album can be downloaded.

Launched in July 2013 by John Smid, Charles Smid and Jag Gundu, Bliiss has already signed up 1000 weddings, with some of the more active parties having more than 100 guests signed up and 1000 wedding photos collected. I asked John to share some of what has made Bliiss such a hit with couples tying the knot.

What was the inspiration behind Bliiss?

Every wedding I've been to, including my own, has had dozens of guests snapping hundreds of photos and then never sharing them. Isn't it a shame that all those glorious moments were captured but never shared?

Bliiss not only allows guests to see, comment on, and share each other's photos, they also get the opportunity to see the professional photographer's photos.

When I got married my grandparents couldn't make the trip due to my grandmother's ailing health. They had played a very meaningful part of my life, and to this day, I wish so badly that they could have been there. Bliiss is the next best thing to being there. Because photos captured by the app feed the album in real-time, people who couldn't make it because of illness or distance can now watch the wedding happen as though they were there.

How does Bliiss make money?

Bliiss is free to download and use, but we make a margin on the printing services we offer, which are very competitive and completely optional.

Who are your competitors in this space?

When we've talked to couples at wedding shows, many of them have mentioned
that they were considering Instagram. Instagram is great, but there is no way to
own a hashtag and you can't easily download all of your photos.

Is there a particular wedding that Bliiss was part of that really stands out to you?

A favourite is the wedding of Academy Award winner Roger Christian and Bollywood personality Lina Dhingra. They really went all out, creating signs for "Bliiss Zones" to encourage guests to take photos at picturesque locations throughout the venue. Their wedding also had some amazing moments captured by guests - like Lina riding to the procession line on a rickshaw and Storm Troopers crashing the reception (Roger won his Oscar for his work in Star Wars). My favourite Bliiss shot of all time is the Storm Troopers taking a selfie.

What's coming up next for Bliiss?

A lot. We're adding several new features to the app, including a rapid-shot mode where guests can "snap, snap, snap" photos and upload in bulk.

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