Are we Blur­ring tonight?” That’s a ques­tion three North­eastern busi­ness stu­dents envi­sion as the future of photo sharing.

Dan Arvidsson, Dan Korman, and Sam Marley, all DMSB’18, are the co-​​founders of Blurr, a photo-​​sharing app that con­nects people who are in the same place at the same time—whether it’s a sporting event, con­cert, party, or wed­ding. Blurr is free and avail­able in the Apple App Store.

The bur­geoning entre­pre­neurs devel­oped the idea a year ago after throwing a party for a friend who was leaving for study abroad in Aus­tralia. The fol­lowing morning, they real­ized they had taken very few photos of their friend at the party. Sure, they could’ve texted friends, asking them to send some of their photos along. But they began to think about how they could fill what they saw as a gap in the photo-​​sharing market.

The unique thing about Blurr is that it’s a public photo-​​sharing plat­form, but in small pockets of space that are pri­vate,” Korman said. “No one has put that spin on it like we have.”

Blurr connects people who are at the same place at the same time, like a party or sporting event.Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

The hyper­local photo-​​sharing plat­form con­nects people who are in the same place at the same time, like a party or sporting event. Photo by Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

It’s fit­ting that these stu­dents launched a ven­ture built upon sharing mem­o­ries, given how much they have in common. All three were born overseas—Arvidsson in Brazil, Korman in Bel­gium, and Marley in the U.K—and after con­verging at North­eastern they became team­mates on the men’s soccer team. They’ve taken courses together in the D’Amore-McKim School of Busi­ness and become busi­ness part­ners as well as roommates.

Now they’re col­lec­tively closing in on what could be Blurr’s biggest moment thus far. Their ven­ture is one of eight final­ists in Stu­dent Startup Mad­ness, a nation­wide tournament-​​style com­pe­ti­tion for col­lege stu­dents’ dig­ital media star­tups. On Tuesday, the final­ists will pitch their ven­tures to a judging panel of entre­pre­neurs and investors at the South by South­west film and music fes­tival in Austin, Texas.

The Blurr team said it will be ready to make its four-​​minute pitch count. And the stu­dents intend to make the most of the rest of their SXSW expe­ri­ence by devel­oping con­nec­tions and building brand awareness.

The unique thing about Blurr is that it’s a public photo-​​sharing plat­form, but in small pockets of space that are pri­vate. No one has put that spin on it like we have.
— Dan Korman, DMSB’18

How Blurr works

When you arrive at an event, open the Blurr app and press “Start Blurr.” Then choose between one of two radii—“close” (200 meters) or “closer” (100 meters). From then on, every pic­ture taken by you and others who are signed into Blurr gets cycled into a photo feed on your Blurr app. In fact, the app even col­lects images taken during the hour before you arrive. And your Blurr ends when you leave.

All these photos remain view­able and down­load­able for 24 hours. The app sorts your photo feed three dif­ferent ways: all of the photos, the photos taken by your Face­book friends, because you sign into Blurr via Face­book, or the photos you took yourself.

The Blurr expe­ri­ence, the co-​​founders said, is designed to make photo sharing a breeze and avoid your having to track down friends and family to ask for their pic­tures the next day. There are no groups to join, friends to add, things to “like.” You don’t even have to take any photos your­self. Just launch the Blurr app and let others do the heavy (smart­phone) lifting.

It’s very dif­fi­cult in life to remember every­thing you do,” Arvidsson said, “and if you’re a col­lege stu­dent, you’re making some of the best mem­o­ries of your life. Our thing is that life is really just a blur—it’s a blur of pictures.”

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Photo by Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

Help along the way

The Blurr team said Northeastern’s entre­pre­neurial ecosystem has played a piv­otal role in its growth. Blurr went through IDEA, the student-​​run ven­ture accel­er­ator, and received $10,000 in gap funding. IDEA also urged Blurr to gain user val­i­da­tion from beta testers, who coined the phrase “Blur­ring” to describe using the app.

Blurr also con­nected with Scout, the student-​​led design studio, which designed its brand and improved the user expe­ri­ence. Law stu­dents in the IP-​​CoLab, for their part, are pro­viding Blurr with trade­marking advice.

It’s very dif­fi­cult in life to remember every­thing you do,” Arvidsson said, “and if you’re a col­lege stu­dent, you’re making some of the best mem­o­ries of your life. Our thing is that life is really just a blur—it’s a blur of pic­tures.”
— Dan Arvidsson, DMSB’18

The Blurr team sees its photo-​​sharing plat­form as a way to not only share mem­o­ries, but also enhance the event experience.

There are a lot of public content-​​sharing feeds where you can see people and places all over the world, like Periscope, which is an unbe­liev­able idea,” Marley said. “But for us, with Blurr we wanted to bring it back home and make mem­o­ries with the people around you and with you.”