From thought bubble to evolving tech startup

Thoughts Nov 01, 2017
Danielle MacInnes

It’s a dog eat dog world.

Today, there are over 2,000 crowdfunding platforms out there and they are consistently flooded with thousands of campaigns designed by entrepreneurs looking to take on the hearty challenge of converting dreams into reality.

Of them, the most sought out performance stage still remains Kickstarter.

Since its inception in 2009, it has seen constant growth in the the number of projects funded and the total pledge amount. But that changed in 2016 when there were only 18,823 projects funded with a total pledge amount of $579,504,324 (a change of -17% and -6% respective to 2015).

The reasons behind this dip are still unclear, but it’s possible that Kickstarter’s audience is becoming more demanding and is looking for quality projects that rise above a critical threshold. Or, it could be that entrepreneurs are designing fewer but more well-crafted campaigns. Perhaps, it’s a combination of both.

Despite this decline in funding, Monument still managed to break through!

In March of 2016, at the end of our 42-day crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, what amassed were 6,000 amazing individuals that had given our pitch a thumbs up.

And for that, we will be forever grateful.

Initially, we had set a goal of $60,000 to cover the bare production costs of a Monument Device. However, that number was soon left in the rear view mirror as we sped toward a staggering $900,000 round. It became abundantly clear that a personal cloud photo management solution not only resonated with the general public, but everyone had been desperately waiting for one.

And so, with our backer’s enthusiasm, we had a fire lit up under our fanny.

We spent the next 6 months building out our Monument prototypes — both the physical device and its accompanied iOS and Android apps.

Monument’s COO inspecting internal hardware

With time against us and the technological challenges we crossed, we ultimately decided it must be able to execute these core features:

  • Automatically back up photos to an external storage device
  • Import content from smartphones and SD cards
  • Organize people through AI-powered face recognition
  • Album creation
  • Sorting by date and camera.

Although we had several setbacks, by January 2017 we were past development and had working models in the hands of the majority of our backers.

At this point, we were all smiles.

Just a year previous to this, Monument was a nameless idea. It was a baby’s cry that kept us up at night. It sat floating around in our heads looking to grab onto anything that would help it break out into the real world.

Thankfully, it did. Through persistence, teamwork, and support from our backers, we shaped that idea, made it tangible and created a business in the process.


However, this was not the time to kick back because the period immediately after was mixed with excitement and tension as we were left on edge with a million different questions.

  • How will our users adopt the product?
  • What holes will they find for us to fill?
  • How will we support them?
  • What new features will they recommend?
  • Is there enough there to retain them right now?

Needless to say, our thoughts were met with a wave of reactions to which we have spent the majority of 2017 responding to.

With a new roadmap in play, the app interface, organization and search options, user-to-user sharing, file support, and AI algorithm have improved by leaps and bounds when compared to the limited functionality of the original release.

And we’re still only breaking the ice.

This is how our priorities line up today:

  • Correct known bugs and maintain a positive user experience across iOS and Android apps (November).
  • Move out of a beta desktop app toward one that is stable in syncing, backing up, searching, and organizing photos by date (Late-November 2017)
  • Push toward a desktop app that is completely on par with the mobile apps (February 2018)
  • Implement NAS functionality (February 2018).

Our team has a lot on our plate but we are hell-bent on delivering.

We also not only want to keep our audience at the forefront of all things Monument related but we also want to keep you informed on changes we see in the world of photography and tech — we’re photographers first and foremost (check out our Instagram page @getmonument).

Lastly, please feel free to reach us at support@getmonument should you have any questions/feedback or simply want to talk to us.

Until next week, keep capturing!


Monument is the world's first artificial intelligence enabled cloud device for photos. It backs up and organizes photos & videos from all of your devices