Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Sacramento startup sees big jump in sales of its photo stations

Published: Saturday, Jun. 8, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2013 - 10:28 am

Every 10 seconds, someone, somewhere in the world, snaps a picture using one of the iSnap kiosks created by Sacramento's Alexander Lowe and Dat Tau.

That's one of the factoids they like to toss out to explain just how ubiquitous their technology has become in three short years. Back in October, when Lowe last spoke with me, 130 iSnap kiosks were standing in businesses ranging from yogurt shops to bars to Las Vegas casinos. That number is now 300.

Lowe attributes the growth to the hiring of four sales people and to the uniqueness of his product. iSnap taps into many people's urge to mug for a camera, and after they snap a shot at one of the startup's kiosks, they can sign up to post pictures on Facebook or other social-networking sites. The border for each picture contains branding for the kiosk owner.

"People are having the brand experience at the optometrist or at the concert venue," Lowe said. "So it's the perfect time to engage with them in some way and have them share that experience and become brand advocates, sharing with their friends through social media."

iSnap makes money not only by selling each kiosk for $3,850 but also by selling each business a $200-$500 monthly subscription to data collected on customers.

Dangerous but not sinking

For the first time, when Steven Moll leaves to tape a season of his "Dangerous Waters" reality TV series, he'll have the money to cover the cost of fuel for his nautical journey.

Moll, of course, is the Folsom resident who had the wild idea to travel the world on personal watercraft. He went broke funding his first season but found angel investors for his second season, Jim and Jacquelyn Anderson, part-owners of Sacramento's Pacific Coast Building Products.

The third season is paying for itself, he said, as old sponsors such as Maui Jim and OtterBox return, one or two such as Kawasaki replace old sponsors and new companies enter the picture, such as Roseville-based Tuff Jug. And what about Season 4?

"We'll start filming (that), believe it or not, in April of next year," he said. "I believe it will be completely in the profit area because the show is becoming more popular."

MAVTV, the network that airs "Dangerous Waters," can be viewed in 65 million homes because of its contracts with several cable systems and with satellite providers Dish Network and DirecTV.

The "Dangerous Waters" crew will depart Sacramento on July 26 and make their way to the point where their adventure ended last year, the Inuvik Region of Canada's Northwest Territories. If enough ice has melted and the winds have turned southerly, he and his crew of four will hop onto Kawasaki Jet Skis to depart the tiny hamlet of Aklavik on Aug. 2. They plan to pick their way across the Northwest Passage, drop into the North Atlantic and cruise into London, England, sometime in October.

Mercy units going fast

The new apartment complex next to Mercy General Hospital has only 20 units, and if Sean Mann continues leasing them at the pace he's set in the last two months, they could all be occupied by the end of summer.

"We're seeing a lot of people who are working in this area, or they know east Sacramento, and they want something in this area," Mann said. "They really love the open concepts with all the space. … We've had inquiries from several doctors who have homes in the Bay Area, but they want some place nearby."

Mercy General built the Craftsman-style apartments at 3940 H St. after a number of nearby residents protested that its construction of the Alex G. Spanos Heart and Vascular Center would displace housing.

The apartments were unveiled at the end of March, and so far seven have been leased, Mann said. They lease for $1,300 to almost $2,000 a month.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Back columns, Follow her on Twitter @cathiea_sacbee.

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