Photo enthusiast community YouPic lands €500K to fuel its ambitious growth plans
A Q&A with YouPic founder and CEO Navid Razazi. The Gothenburg, Sweden-based startup, which offers a social media community for photography enthusiasts, announced in late March the closing of a €500,000 Seed funding round from the Chalmers Innovation Seed Fund. This funding comes as an add-on to earlier rounds totaling approximately $450,000. Chalmers was also involved in the previous funding. YouPic was founded in 2012, and is a past participant in the Chalmers Innovation Start Up Camp.
SUB: Please describe YouPic and your primary innovation.
Razazi: YouPic is a place for photographers to take their photography to the next level. Here you can find high quality inspiration, get detailed feedback and tips in all categories of photography.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Razazi: Photography enthusiasts and hobby photographers worldwide.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates YouPic from the competition?
Razazi: Direct competition is Nikon School, FStoppers and other photography learning blogs. Indirect competition is other photo sharing services like Flickr and 500px.
The big differentiator is that we are focused on the learning experience of photography rather than licensing or storage.
SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised €500,000 in Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise funding?
Razazi: The time actually was pretty random set.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds, and do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
Razazi: We are looking to a Series A in the end of 2015. We plan to hire three additional developers and to increase the growth budget.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for YouPic? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Razazi: I was an amateur photographer with passion and wanted to find a place for like-minded people.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Razazi: We joined Chalmers Innovation Start Up Camp, which is a 10-week program for startups to code and validate their idea.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Razazi: The story behind the name is simply a play on YouTube—but for pictures.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Razazi: To get the initial traction and to get enough photographers uploading photos so the service feels live and crowded.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Razazi: We have a pretty cool freemium model in mind and will push it in September this year.
SUB: What are your goals for YouPic over the next year or so?
Razazi: The goal is to reach a million registered photographers.