Meet the CEO at PastBook: A New App Using AI Tech To Resurrect Physical Photos

Today, with so many of us documenting every aspect of our lives on our Facebook and Instagram accounts – from engagements and gender reveals, to what we had for dinner – we now all have a digital photo album of our most important life memories, one which we can look back on in years to come.

PastBook gives people an easy way to preserve and rediscover these memories, creating well-curated, stylistic logs of our favourite photos and turning them into image-based memoirs and keepsakes – Life’s highlights, never again forgotten.

Since our launch in 2012, we have now grown from a Social media service, launching an iPhone app that aims to save Brits thousands of hours in photo organisation and curation. Using proprietary artificial intelligence (patent pending) which has been in development for over a year and a half, the app allows users to create their own high-quality photo book by simply selecting a time range or location, the artificial intelligence does the rest.
 
 

PastBook’s CEO, Wouter Staatsen
PastBook’s CEO, Wouter Staatsen
 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
Our founder Stefano Cutello was working for eBay when he first had the idea for PastBook – a company that would automatically compile our social media accounts and turn them into printed photo books. The idea came to Stefano when he was flicking through childhood photo albums with his father and wondered – will I ever be able to have that same experience with my children, now that everything is digital?

Rediscovering the nostalgia that a physical photo can bring, Stefano founded PastBook in 2012. After almost failing three times, PastBook is now one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies, posting revenues of USD 14 million in 2019, tripling this figure in 2020.

Testament to its rapid growth following the company’s restructure, PastBook has appeared in both the FT1000: Europe’s Fastest-Growing Companies and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500. The company also won the Deloitte Fast50 for the Media & Entertainment category, followed by CEO Wouter Staatsen and Stefano Cutello discussing the rise of the “experience economy” with Forbes in early June.
 

 

What can we hope to see from PastBook in the future?

 
The launch of our app has been a pivotal point in the development of PastBook as the global, fabless platform for one-click photo products. In the past year, we have achieved tremendous growth in revenues internationally and the addition of this unique piece of IP will provide us with incredible potential for scale in the next few years.

As the company continues to keep technological innovation at the core of its proposition, we aim to grow and expand our app. As such, we have been touring the world to meet as many new users as possible and learn from them. Did you know that we all make more than 1 billion photos every day? Following this, we aim to make further developments to the app to give users an even bigger variety of exciting options when it comes to creating their book. We can now tell you exclusively that we are working on an Android version of the App, to be released by early 2022.
 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
In the beginning, the pandemic boosted our growth: people were sitting inside and online purchases skyrocketed. This was the same for most eCommerce companies. But in the long run, it is better for everyone if people are free to travel, meet and can go outside again. We want to be of service when people create new adventures, small or big, like summer holidays, a skiing trip, weddings or newborn babies.

Everywhere we go, we take our smartphones with us which nowadays are equipped with pretty good camera functionality. People take pictures of everything. That is where we can add a lot of value to the customer, who often have tens of thousands of photos on their device. But what do you do with those photos then?