Startup wants to help you remember everything you read on the Web

Ever been out and about, run across an awesome picture, quote orarticle online, and then lost it because you never bothered to copy, paste and save it somewhere to use later?

Of course we all have, and the founders of Snapture are betting on that shared common annoyance to drive interest in the Toronto startup’s nascent technology tool.

Snapture’s entry into ‘The $1,000 Minute’ contest.

“It’s a pain point every Internet user has had,” says Snapture co-founder Tristan Buttolph.

Snapture lets users instantly capture and save a screen shot of anydata they find online (photos, graphics, articles or even partial text)just by right-clicking their touchpad or mouse. A thumbnail image ofthat data is then saved in a cloud-based portal along with an embeddedlink to its original Web source. Users can retrieve that data andreturn to its original online source any time using the browser ontheir smartphone, tablet, laptop or traditional desktop. A historical timeline will also show when data was captured.

“The dream is no matter what you’re doing, everywhere, you can always’Snapture’ things. (It’ll) give people the power to capture things theycare about on the fly, any time,” Buttolph says.

Buttolph says it’s faster and easier than highlighting, copying andpasting Web images or text that then have to be saved on your computeror mobile device. It saves on system storage because all the datais stored in the cloud,he says. It’s more precise than just bookmarking the source Web pagebecause the screen shot instantly takes you to the exact image or bitof information you’re interested in, not just tor an entire Web pagethat users would still have to scroll through again to find theirspecific information of interest, Buttolph adds.

“So it’s real time, any time access to anything you find on the Internet,” he says.

Snapture still exists only in beta prototype as a Google Chrome browser plug-in, but the company’s plan is to develop it for all major browsers such as Firefox and others.

Calling Snapture a startup is like calling Bill Gates financiallysecure; the company is so new that its founders only met each other 10days ago. It’s so new that there are only five people working there,sans paycheque, and none of them have job titles. It’s so new thatButtolph’s bosses at his day job don’t even know he’s involved with thefledgling company – yet. (At this point he’s still keeping it that way,saying only that he does B2B sales for a large technology company in Canada.)

Snapture was born out of Startup Weekend Toronto,an intense three-day event from Nov. 18 to 20 that brought localentrepreneurs and developers together to meet for the first time, formteams, and then create instant startups from scratch. The weekendculminated with teams pitching their startups to a panel of judges fromthe technology, business and investment streams.

“We literally turned an idea into a startup in one weekend. We cametogether and had a working beta prototype by the time our presentationwas due,” says Buttolph.

Buttolph came up with the original concept for Snapture at StartupWeekend. But since his expertise is on the business rather thantechnical side, the lone developer on his brand spanking new team“stayed up all night building the code from scratch,” he says.

So far all five Snapture team members from that fateful weekend arecommitted to taking their idea further and building a real startup firmout of it. They have meetings set up this week with people Buttolphcalls “influential bloggers” to get feedback on Snapture. They’ll usethat feedback to refine the beta prototype before hitting up possibleinvestors.

“We want to listen to our potential customers from day one instead ofbuilding something and then convincing people they want it,” Buttolphsays.

One major thing might have to change, though: the company name Snapture, which is already the moniker of an iPhonecamera app that’s been on the market since 2008. Buttolph isn’t sure ifhis team, which is quickly becoming a company, will keep the Snapturename or find a new one. As Buttolph explains, however, teams were onlygiven five minutes at Startup Weekend to come up with a company name.

“That’s how brainstorming works,” he says.

Christine Wong Christine Wong is a Staff Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow her on Twitter, and join in the conversation on the IT Business Facebook Page.

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