Startup Kapcher building a community behind the lens

Today, there are enough photographers and videographers to start a new country. This field of expertise has a strong influence on many individuals and businesses to market and advertise their brands, blogs or websites. Over the past few years, people have captured photos and created videos using both professional and non-professional devices; this is because the power of visual data today is greater than ever.

This passion and love for photography and videography is present in Thai Huynh, a 24-year-old Commerce graduate from Sydney University’s Business School with a major in Finance and Accounting. His idea for Kapcher was first pitched to a panel of judges at Startup Weekend Sydney, where it bagged the runner-up prize in a competition sponsored by Fishburners.

Kapcher was then pitched at the Global Startup Battle, and was named in the Top 15 Most Voted Startups in the E-Commerce Category. Huynh and his team are currently working on some key logistics for the company and are planning to launch the website in three months’ time.

Huynh’s passion for photography is remarkable, but his vision for the company is outstanding. A freelancer himself, Huynh has been taking up part time jobs to finance his dream website, Kapcher. The inspiration for the website began when Thai knew that his amateurish work would not stand up against the established studios in the market which will hinder his chances of landing a client.

However, he does have a well-connected friend circle who share the same passion and are able to churn out very high quality work. The main problem for them, and any other amateur photographer, who wishes to enter the industry is that clients hire those who have a good reputation through word-of-mouth.

As these photographers are new, they will not be able to spread their work fast enough and will have to rely on other means of getting a job. So, Kapcher was created to form a place where photographers and videographers can showcase their talent and earn a chance to get themselves hired for small or big projects.

Kapcher is technically a social media network that connects photographers and videographers with different clients and customers in Australia. Instead of hiring a professional establishment to handle your photography needs, Kapcher will provide a database of freelancers from different parts of the country, who have flexible and affordable prices.

So, people who need a photographer for their graduation or a videographer for their wedding can go to Kapcher and hire a person that fits their budget. The idea behind the website is to offer people an affordable means of getting high quality photos and videos from people who are not well-established at a lower cost to the customer. The main business activity of Kapcher is to provide a portal for people to find photographers and for photographers to find jobs.

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Thai Huynh, Co-Founder of Kapcher. Photo Credit: Zokofoto

The philosophy behind the business

Huynh did not want the website to be a retail store where clients just bid for photography services. He believes the website will be a community platform where photographers in Australia can enjoy the works that are created by other photographers and learn from them as well. It will form a place where photographers can build their network and hone in on their skills and expertise. The feeling of being a part of a community is the end result of the website, not just a means to earn money.

Huynh wants to remove the traditional philosophy, where businesses and clients hire only those with years of experience, rather than quality work. Number of jobs completed, ratings and customer feedback will be the basis of selection for people who will use this website. He admits his business will begin in Australia, but his plan is to create a global community where people from around the world can share their works and advice to others.

All the finances of the business, so far, has been self-funded by Huynh, as the business is only in its infancy. One of the key areas that Huynh has to focus on is financing the business so that it can make returns on his investment. He is currently working with his mentor, Peter Bradd, Executive Director of Fishburners, who is giving him a clear idea of what is required to make a solid business pitch to an investor.

Kapcher’s business model

Huynh will be implementing a combination of three business models used by Odesk, Elance and Freelancer. The main reason why these sites are successful is because it is a safer way of generating income. These businesses do not charge a subscription fees for their users which means that registering for this service is absolutely free.

However, the business does charge a transaction fee when a photographer and a client come to an agreement. The transaction fee is generally between 5-10 percent of the total transaction value which goes directly to the business if both parties make the transaction online using the website.

If the client wishes to pay offline, he can do so without any obligation to pay the website the transaction fee, which is a particularly interesting approach.

The catch behind getting photographers to be paid online is that if the transaction is done offline, then that photographer will not be given any feedback or ratings. Feedback and ratings are important for those who wish to improve their online portfolio using the website. Kapcher will be charging a transaction fee of approximately 10 percent when the business is live.

Huynh believes that in time, the business will expand to the US and UK which will further help increase his revenues.

The current pricing strategies that established studios provide are significantly higher in comparison to the prices that freelancers put up. Huynh’s pricing strategy is variable for each photographer. Photographers who have a high price will have their portfolio to back them up.

However, users who can view all the photographers can choose another photographer if he charges a lower price and offers the same quality. Other factors that can determine the price for each photographer will be the customer feedback and ratings. Users of the website can view the credibility that the photographer has on the website and can hire their services if they are within their budget.

Challenges

The major challenge that Huynh has faced with regard to his business has been getting photographers and videographers to test out his model.

As Kapcher is still in its Beta stages, Huynh will require anywhere between 2,000 to 5,000 users to test out his website before it’s launched. He does not want to have a few hundred people join when the website is officially launched; he wants all his beta users and more to join at the same time.

The next challenge that he faces is to design the website in a way that it is very attractive to photographers and users; and lastly to get a credible investor to finances his business so that he can fulfill his dream.

At the moment, it’s safe to say there’s sunshine on the horizon for Kapcher. Huynh is not one to slow down when his mind is set on accomplishing something. And being humble man that he is, he does not shy away from showing gratitude to those who have helped bring his vision to life – that being, his mentor Peter Bradd and AIESEC Australia.

For more information, visit www.kapcher.co.

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