Interview with Erez Tal, CEO of Pinto

Pin pictures directly to Facebook albums and share with friends

What if I told you there was an app that featured some of the things we love about Instagram (adding unique filters to pictures) and Pinterest (pinning a collection of things we love into one place) that your friends and family could share in, without ever leaving Facebook? Pinto (pronounced Pin-too) is that app. Once added, Pinto allows you to save (or pin, if you prefer) pictures from anywhere around the web into albums right on Facebook. Make collections of things you love, plan a vacation, make a wish list, all right where pretty much everyone you know is already spending a good deal of their time online. [I’ve done a video blog post of the process here.] As they put it:

“Pinto is your own Facebook photo blog, it is your own Facebook magazine, wishlist and theme organiser. Collect the things you love, edit them with your style and let your friends know about it.”

Yoni Ram (CEO of Sociabell, the best social search app on Facebook, who I interviewed earlier this year) introduced me to Pinto’s CEO, Erez Tal, who was happy to do an interview with me.

Rob: What’s the story behind Pinto? What inspired you to create this app?

Erez: As a Facebook user, I find myself visiting Facebook and getting updates from my friends at least twice a day, it simply became a need to get live info that is available and to share the things you like to share. As a Pinterest user, I found it cool collecting and tagging some photos I like to my boards, with my own categories and albums, exploring more photos and new ideas on the photo boards of people I follow. With the fact that I only remember to check new interesting Pinterest photos twice a week on average, and with the time I spend on Facebook I thought “Why don’t we have an option to pin directly to the Facebook albums?” Here comes the Pinto idea – Pin any image that you like directly to a Facebook album.

Rob: You’ve told me that mobile is the next direction for Pinto. Can you tell us a little about what we can expect to see?

Erez: Pinto is fresh on its beta version for all web browsers and we’ve already received feedback from users willing to use Pinto with on mobile phones and tablets. With the understanding that most people are using mobile more and more to interact on Facebook and to search and browse the internet, we are definitely going to introduce a cool mobile app that will allow Pinto user to manage and collect new interesting stuff to their Facebook albums.

Rob: What makes Pinto a better option than external sites like Pinterest or Fancy for Facebook users?

Photo with one of Pinto's filters added

Photo with one of Pinto’s filters added

Erez: Pinto was created specifically for Facebook users. The users now don’t need to exit Facebook to view notifications that a friend pinned new image the her “Winter 2013 Fashion” album or notifications that another friend pinned new photos to his “Dream Cars” album or “Vacations Wish List” album. It’s all there in Facebook, visible on the friends’ albums and on the Facebook news feed. We believe that with the cool option to add effects and frames to the photos we are bringing a new exciting experience for the Facebook users. There is a lot to expect. We are very focused on making Pinto mobile app useful in the eyes of the user and covering the gap between Facebook users and external sites’ content.

Rob: Aside from going mobile, what else is in the future for Pinto?

Erez: We are creating a new version for Pinto that allows many more options on Facebook, adding users’ aspect of social imaging elements by categories of interests, by search, by products. There are more things to expect.

Rob: You’re located in Israel. What is the startup climate like right now in Israel? Can you talk a bit about being part of the tech/startup explosion going on there right now?

Erez: The thing in Israel is that we are located in a very small, intense and crowded industry of hi-tech companies. Although Israel is small, there are many startup companies found here. For those who are living with the techy products and getting inspiration from the surrounding hi-tech environment, it is a great surface for turning ideas into reality. During some focus groups and after shaping the idea and its platform, we have come up with the option to edit the photos and give it a personal style according to the user’s mood and personal style.

Rob: Do you have any advice for upcoming entrepreneurs and startup hopefuls?

Erez: I’m always looking for the gaps I can provide with a solution while trying to make it creatively, the gaps can be a technologically gap, missing functionalities or services. If you have a dream, don’t get back to sleep cause it will only come back as a dream. Take your idea, make sure the users are getting the best out of it, and start developing it.

Streamlining and sharing, isn’t that what web technology is all about? If you want to start using Pinto, go the to the website: http://pin2.it or check out the Facebook page. Give it a try, and let me know what you think. Is it better to have your collections all in one place, with that place being Facebook?

Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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