Media & entertainment tech

What You Need To Know About Dispo, The New Photo App Everyone is Buzzing About

If you’re part of Generation Z or spent some time on Tech Twitter over the weekend, you’ve probably heard of Dispo at this point.

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The app, which has been around for more than a year, became the subject of discussion and scramble for invites after rolling out an invite-only test version last week. 

Because we care (really, we actually do care), we thought we’d break down Dispo and tell you why it matters.

The basics

Dispo is an app founded by YouTuber and social media personality David Dobrik. Dobrik’s known for leading The Vlog Squad on YouTube, and founded Dispo in late 2019. 

The app was previously known as David’s Disposables, according to dot.LA, and is essentially a camera app that acts like a disposable camera and produces retro-looking photos. Users take a photo and have to wait for it to “develop” and receive it at 9 a.m. local time. 

The end result is a more authentic looking photograph–not the filtered, edited photos social media users have grown accustomed to seeing on Instagram, but more raw and real.

Dispo’s aesthetic is one that Gen Z has come to embrace on social platforms like TikTok that is more authentic and unfiltered. Dobrik said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last year that the idea for Dispo was born after he noticed his friends taking photos with real disposable cameras at parties. The end product wasn’t filtered or edited.

“With disposable photos, you’re not sitting there and making sure you get the right photo,” Dobrik said, according to WSJ.

How it works

Besides taking a photo and receiving it the next morning, Dispo also has a social element to it, where users can share their camera rolls. Dispo just released the invite-only version of the app that has the social element, and it quickly hit the 10,000 user limit over the weekend after users in Japan flocked to the app, according to the company. The original version of the app with just the photo-taking capability is still available on the App Store.

Who is backing it

Dispo raised a $4 million seed round led by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s VC firm Seven Seven Six in October 2020, according to Crunchbase. We’ve reached out to Seven Seven Six and haven’t heard back yet, but will update this story if that changes.

VC firms like Shrug Capital and Unshackled Ventures also participated in the round, along with celebrity investors like The Chainsmokers and actress Sofia Vergara. You can see Dispo’s full list of investors on Crunchbase here.

The Information also reported Wednesday that the app has gotten investment interest from the likes of Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz, which recently backed Clubhouse.

So there you have it. Time will quickly tell if Dispo is more than just the latest fad but with high profile backers and a nice chunk of seed money it will at least be interesting to see what lies ahead.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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