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eCompanies venture offers free photo processing

The Web financier says its venture will offer free film processing, scanning and uploading early next year.

Web financier eCompanies today said its venture will offer free film processing and scanning early next year.

eCompanies, an Internet incubator helping to design, build and fund Web firms, also tapped Tim Kilpin, a former executive at toy maker Mattel, as eMemories chief executive officer. Last month, eParties, another venture incubated by eCompanies, tapped another Mattel executive as its CEO.

Although consumers have already been able to receive processed photos by email, including through America Online's You've Got Pictures service, this marks a departure in the field. Consumers will now be able to get their film processed, scanned and uploaded to the Web for free.

eCompanies, started by EarthLink founder Sky Dayton and former Walt Disney Internet executive Jake Winebaum, has been on a tear, rapidly growing consumer-oriented Web sites. Earlier this week it took a stake in e-commerce start-up In recent months it has launched eParties and taken a minority stake in eHobbies.

The company in August secured $130 million in financing from several companies, including Disney, EarthLink, Goldman Sachs, Sprint and SunAmerica.

"It's no secret that the market for online photo sharing and related services is about to explode," Dayton said in a statement.

eMemories already offers photo album creation and storytelling services and plans to let users who have their film processed by eMemories decide which pictures they would like to have printed.

"Unlike traditional film processing, you pay only for those prints you want," Kilpin said in a statement.

eCompanies and eMemories are based in Santa Monica, Calif.