Call it a yearbook for the Facebook generation. TreeRing, a San Mateo, California startup, has landed $3.6 million from some heavy hitters in the tech industry to radically upend the traditional yearbook industry.
Among the backers of the company are Zillow co-founder Rich Barton; Flipboard CEO Mike McCue and Seattle area venture capital firms Second Avenue Partners (Mike Slade) and Cedar Grove Investments (Tom Hughes).
TreeRing’s proposition is pretty simple. The company allows yearbooks to be built online through one’s online social network and printed on demand with personalized pages for each student. More than 1,200 schools have already signed on to the program, with 125,000 yearbooks printed to date.
Prices are comparable to traditional yearbooks. For example, an 80-page hardcover yearbook with two custom pages for the student costs $28.94. There are no minimum orders or commitments for schools, meaning that schools don’t get stuck with a lot of leftover inventory.
“TreeRing has ingeniously combined the new capabilities of print, social, and design technologies. Not only does this change the American yearbook forever, but this will change how students capture their memories and remember their youth in years to come,” said Flipboard CEO Mike McCue.
The idea is interesting in part because TreeRing isn’t looking to eliminate the physical yearbook altogether, but rather use technologies to make it better.
Here’s a look at how it works: