Sam Allen

Our Blog.
Sam's two cents.

Our Blog. Sam's two cents.

ScanCafe CEO Sam Allen weighs in on industry events, company news, and more.

Things we liked at PepCom

ScanCafe took a bite out of the Big Apple at the Fall PepCom event.  The purpose was to bring a bunch of creative consumer focused companies together in one place to present ideas for the upcoming Holiday season (what, already?) to a bunch of national reporters.  A good idea, really, it allows for both companies and press to make a single trip to a single spot.

Didn’t hurt that they had some good grub and lots of booze (for the press – yours truly had only water to drink).

The coolest thing we saw at PepCom was the service from Cucku – yeah, that really is the name, an old Marine like me thought it a bit too close for comfort, but there you have it.  Cucku has created an innovative way to provide backup services for your irreplaceable files (such as your heirloom photos) using a distributed, peer to peer infrastructure.  You should check them out if you are looking for a neat way to backup your systems which you should be doing.

Second place?  Had to be the sweet vacuum from Black & Decker that folds flat to get under the couch.  Yes, I am talking about vacuum cleaners – but it’s ok because it’s from Black & Decker.  Right?

Work with a documentary filmmaker – free

Create a slideshow with a documentary filmmaker

We’re very excited to bring you a special offer! We’ve heard from many customers that they wanted to make a presentation or slideshow using their scanned photos.

So, we’ve made special arrangements with a leading San Francisco-area documentary filmmaker to have her produce customer slideshows.

She will interview you (by phone) to understand you and your goals for the project, and you will forward scanned images, text, and sound files. She will then produce an approximately 3-minute, professional-quality slideshow – at no cost to you. We’ll even feature the finished slideshows on our website.

About the filmmaker

Hannah Guggenheim is a leading cinematographer/editor in the Bay Area, whose films are noted for their artistic qualities and social conscience. She has an MFA from San Francisco State’s Film Production Program, including work for PBS and TurnHere.

Hannah’s most recent project – the documentary film “Benji and Judah” – was admitted to the Mill Valley Film Festival, showing in early October. The film is a compelling portrait of the human spirit, as it intimately focuses on the struggles and triumphs of identical twins born with Spina Bifida.

How to qualify

Because of the special nature of this opportunity, we can only extend it to the 10 customers with largest orders between now and September 30, 2008 (with a minimum of 1,000 paid scans). Slideshows should be completed by the first week of November. We will automatically contact all eligible customers.  Tell your story!

Get Started

ScanCafe Garners $5.5M for Expansion and Improvements

We have completed a tremendous amount of work in the last two years building this company from a simple idea into the world’s greatest analog to digital conversion service.  We literally started in a garage in Encinitas, California (right by the beach I might add, “Surf’s Up!”) in the summer of 2006 and here we sit with 5,000 sq ft of Class A office space in Burlingame, CA and 22,000 sq ft of Class A office space in Bangalore, India.  We have grown from 4 very focused friends to 675 incredibly dedicated professionals.

During this rapid maturity we constantly have listened to our customers.  At each stage of growth, we resoundingly heard “Hey, nice job.  Now get it done faster.  And can you add some services.  And while you are at it, can you improve your gallery review process a bit?  Oh yeah, what about the 4 dozen VHS tapes of my 1987 mullet?  Can you convert those?”  So, in order to give the deserving public what it wanted, and to do so timely, I decided that the time had come to leverage the wonderful world of high finance.

We raised $5.5 million in both Venture Capital funding and good old fashioned debt that will allow us to really throw ScanCafe into high gear.  It is important to note that all the really hard things to do – build up the operations, hire the people, buy the equipment, etc. – have already been done.  We really wanted to prove the model before going down the road of bringing on financing partners.  So the good news is that this money will go to adding services, adding capacity to further reduce turn time and to improve the user interface experience.  I will make sure that we do all we can to continue to make the ScanCafe experience an outstanding one.  As usual, keep the comments/feedback coming.

Best,
Sam

Listen: The pictures are talking – I will live forever

Well, it is summer time and life is supposed to be about leisure. Therefore, I thought instead of writing some treatise on imagery correction or our focus on customer service, I would share with you an elegant and outstanding video from Kodak. This makes me feel like my old history teacher who used to take us outside for “class” towards the end of the school year to enjoy the nice weather – “class” being a loose term for a bunch of 17 year olds running around the school grounds at Oak Park High. Just click on the video below and enjoy!

This runs about six minutes – see below for the shorter version

UPS: now go do, that voodoo, that you do, so well.

We knew before we launched ScanCafe that the care and safety of customer orders would be paramount to success. Therefore, we spent the better part of a year (2006) and a couple of hundred thousand dollars of our own money investing in the logistics and support processes that are so critical to our success. We put this in place and heavily tested it prior to taking a single customer order. We have built a phenomenal back end infrastructure that allows us to physically track thousands of packages on a daily basis. On top of this, we created a set of database management tools that can tell me, at a moment’s notice, where every single ScanCafe customer order is located, anywhere on the globe.

It was also important to us to tie our name to a global leader in shipping – so we have fully integrated our logistics and database management with that of UPS. After placing your order at www.scancafe.com you simply print out a fully completed UPS label from your computer – you will notice that there are several barcodes on the label. The one at the bottom is the ScanCafe barcode – it is this barcode that provides the platform for our logistical triumph. Everywhere that your order goes inside of either UPS or ScanCafe, we track your order by that barcode. Automation is key to logistical achievement.

Anyway, we thought we had a pretty phenomenal system – and our track record of 10,000,000 images processed without a single order loss supports this – but compared with the magicians at UPS, we are still neophytes. Check out this story about a typical day in the Worldport UPS facility where over one million packages a day are sorted. It is my goal to have tens of thousands of ScanCafe packages coming through this amazing facility every night. Towards this goal, we will continue to make logistical expertise and the laser focus of customer care pillars of ScanCafe.

ScanCafe UPS Label