Photo app Waddle lands funding, launches updates

Waddle, the San Francisco-based startup that makes a group photo sharing app for the iPhone(s AAPL), is preparing to get a bit bigger. The company has landed seed funding from Chinese Internet giant Tencent.

Waddle isn’t disclosing details about the deal, but Co-Founder Parker Emmott tells me it is structured like a traditional angel or seed round. “The way they viewed this was very much in line with what we wanted from an investor, which is a long-term supporter for the business.”

We first covered Waddle when it launched early last month, and explained the app like this:

You can use the app to share any photo you’ve taken on your iPhone along with a short message with a friend or a group of friends who are also on the service. And voilà, you’ve just started a “Waddle”: a photo album conversation, in which other members of the group can respond with their own photos and comment on yours.

Screenshot of the Waddle app (click to enlarge)

With a market capitalization of more than $40 billion on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Tencent is one of China’s largest technology firms. The company is perhaps best known for its flagship instant messaging product, QQ. Its expertise in the messaging arena could be an asset for Waddle going forward, Emmott said.

First and foremost, though, Waddle plans to use the money to add more staff. The three-person company plans to add two to three new developers in the months ahead.

Also on Tuesday, Waddle announced an updated version of its app. The new version now lets users delete photos, find friends through Facebook Connect, link multiple email addresses to one Waddle account, and add filters and effects to Waddle photos. The updated app also incorporates Sincerely’s API to let users print and send postcards made from their Waddle photos.