Frederick Blackford : The serial venture captalist who founded popular Polaroid app Swing

Frederick has led investments in companies such as Pinterest, Beyond Meat, and NotCo. Frederick previously created Swing Technologies, a San Francisco-based imaging technology business that Microsoft purchased in 2017. Entrepreneur magazine's Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America awards honored it the same year. Frederick received his education at the London School of Economics.

Frederick is the co-founder and managing partner of Future Positive, a multi-stage venture capital firm that wants to engage with outstanding company founders as early as feasible and throughout the lifecycle.

Frederick has led investments in companies such as Pinterest, Beyond Meat, and NotCo. Frederick previously created Swing Technologies, a San Francisco-based imaging technology business that Microsoft purchased in 2017. Entrepreneur magazine's Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America awards honored it the same year. Frederick received his education at the London School of Economics.

Future Positive invests in startups that leverage artificial intelligence, robots, synthetic biology, genetic engineering, and other deep technologies to create highly lucrative enterprises that address the world's most serious issues.

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These are firms that are already operational, have identified a market, assembled a core and world-class team, and created a game-changing product or service based on sound science or technology.

Swing, based in San Francisco, partnered with Polaroid to release the acclaimed "live photo" app SWNG. Frederick, who launched Swing in 2014, gave a Special Session at the One Young World Summit in Ottawa last year to explain his path from idea to reality.

Until then, the only Polaroid films that had ever moved were those manufactured with the Polavision technique, which had failed miserably in 1977. Even though the Polaroid experience was largely about still photographs, it was always engaging and personal. Swing's mini-stories were created with the intention of recapturing part of the joy of pressing a button, watching an image evolve before your eyes, sharing it, and appreciating the memory it records.

Swing's investors include Twitter cofounder Biz Stone, who was so enthralled with this new form of Polaroid photography that he agreed to serve as chairman. The startup's small team comprises alums from Apple, Google, and Facebook; as artist in residence, Cole Rise, a photographer whose early contributions to Instagram were so significant that the app's developers named a filter after him, oversees design.

Swing's two inventors met when they were eight years old and lived on the same London street. Stadlen went on to become a management consultant, writer (co-authoring a book with a former BP CEO), and political advisor, serving on the 2008 Obama campaign. Meanwhile, Blackford established a marketing firm that assisted players and sports leagues in connecting with tech companies and other businesses.

In 2013, Polaroid was identified as a possible client for Blackford to collaborate with. However, after researching the company's history, he became so enamoured with its legacy–particularly founder Edwin Land's achievements as a technology and entrepreneur, as well as his cultural influence–that his imagination wandered to possibilities far beyond marketing collaborations.

Blackford began formulating the concept that would become the Swing app and initiated discussions with the current Polaroid to utilise its brand–a process that took about a year.

However, he claims that “everybody we recruited came from Apple and several other prominent Silicon Valley companies.”

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The fledgling entrepreneurs travelled to San Francisco and met with Biz Stone, who began by offering assistance and soon joined as chairman, instantly lending the company credibility as a digital start-up.

Swing, like all the other App Store businesses, won't be able to survive until it can build a critical mass of users and a sustainable mechanism to monetize them. By utilising the Polaroid name, it has added to the pressure of living up to a historic brand and possibly even helping to boost its fortunes. Even still, the fact that its developers take that responsibility seriously is enough to make a Polaroid fan happy.

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