Talking tech since 2003

It seems like the world can’t make up its mind about its intimate relationship with technology. On the one hand, people line up for blocks to buy the latest iPhone. On the other hand, minimalist movements, entire series about simplifying our homes, tech-free retreat centers, and Facebook-fasts are also gaining momentum. A new industry is springing up to fill that perplexing gap: technology that enriches everyday life rather than distracting from it.

From meditation and motivation apps, to those that encourage water drinking, running, and recycling, people seem to crave connectivity that brings value to their lives that’s more tangible than accumulating achievements on Candy Crush. GuruShots, the platform combining the virtual world of mobile games with real-world photo-taking, seems to hit exactly that sweet spot.

GuruShots is a photo game that everyone can enjoy, from the casual smart phone user to seasoned pros. Players can use photos they already have on their phone (old vacation photos, snaps of their puppy, anything!) or go hunting for new photo subjects, then enter their photos in daily themed challenges, like “black and white” or “beards.” Players then vote for their favorites in each challenge, and at the same time, see instant feedback on their own photos. In-game power-ups let players swap out different photos in a challenge to maximize their chances of winning based on real-time numbers. Challenge winners receive in-game perks, photo gear, gift cards, and more. So far, GuruShots has awarded more than $600,000 worth of prizes.

In other words, GuruShots is using the psychology of gaming to get people hooked on something creative and productive and rewarding. Instead of playing another level of angry birds, players can develop a real skill and connect with other photo fans around the world.

And on that note, GuruShots takes its game from people’s phones and into reality by hosting five international photo exhibitions each month, featuring the very best GuruShots players and their work. Locations so far have included New York, London, Cape Town, Belgrade, Singapore, and more. So it’s much more than “likes” that players are after, it’s live, in your hometown, reach-out-and-touch-it recognition. This is a boundary that few apps ever cross.

“With everyone today taking photos, GuruShots is on a mission to help make those photos more meaningful. We’re excited to help even more people across the globe leverage the most accessible tool for creativity today – their camera,” said Gilon Miller, Founder and CEO of GuruShots.

GuruShots recently announced a $5 million funding round. “This round of funding will accelerate our global scale-up,” Miller said. “Our rapid growth will include enhanced product development and building up our customer acquisition capabilities.”

We’ve seen trendy apps come and go… remember Words with Friends? Remember Farmville? Will GuruShots be another flash in the pan? Only time will tell, but the fact that the game actually draws on real interests and produces real results seems to give it a new kind of staying-power that the app world has not yet seen.

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