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Photography startup wins global Tough Mudder partnership as it gears up for 500% growth

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

GeoSnapShot

GeoSnapShot founder and chief Andy Edwards at a Tough Mudder event in LA. Source: Supplied.

Sydney photography startup GeoSnapShot has landed a global partnership with endurance event company Tough Mudder, using facial-recognition technology to share photos with participants — no matter how grubby they get.

Founded in 2013, GeoSnapShot is a photo-management platform that enables event participants to find images of their own experiences by uploading a selfie.

Photographers can also easily upload and manage their own images, generating income from any that are then purchased.

The startup has previously received funding from Aussie early-stage investment group Investible.

Now, according to founder and chief Andy Edwards, the technology is starting to gain traction in Europe and the US, with the platform available in 100 different countries and 44 languages.

“We saw a real gap in the marketplace,” Edwards tells StartupSmart.

“It was really difficult for people from sports events to get photos of themselves.”

When participants turn up to an event, they often don’t know whether there will be photographers, or where any images might end up, he explains.

“Memories were being lost,” he adds.

The platform is also intended to support grassroots sports clubs. If they send their own photographers, they can manage and sell their own images, setting the price and keeping 80% of revenue generated.

“It’s an amazing way for the club to be supporting themselves,” Edwards says.

While he doesn’t disclose specific revenue figures, the founder says the business doubled revenue last year, and is expecting to see 500% growth this year.

However, “the majority of our growth will come in 2020”, he says.

“We’re on an exponential path … the contracts we have are starting this year and growing over the next 12 months,” Edwards says.

“Dirty testing”

According to Edwards, the deal with Tough Mudder came about fairly quickly — over a matter of a couple of months. The startup was working with the brand in the UK, and was soon also dealing with the US business.

“That developed quite quickly into a partnership for all events,” he says.

Currently, Tough Mudder runs 120 events every year, in 15 countries, with more than 400,000 participants in total.

“We’re clearly very excited about it,” Edwards says.

For GeoSnapShot, it’s an opportunity to provide consistent service on a global scale, providing a positive user experience to Tough Mudder participants all over the world.

For Tough Mudder, it’s a case of brand reinforcement.

“It’s important to them as a brand,” Edwards says.

“They want consistency.”

The global nature of the platform was a selling point, however, the facial recognition aspect was also significant, Edwards explains.

“[Participants] come out from the muddy depths … face recognition is the only thing that will find photos of them,” he says.

“We did some heavy dirty testing and trialling,” he adds.

Now, Edwards is working on cementing additional “major deals” in Europe and the US, although he is unable to share any more detail than that.

“Tough Mudder is one of many that we see coming our way at the moment,” he says.

Get the product right

For other startup trying to lock down partnerships with global brands, Edwards’ top tip is to make sure you’re ready for the big time.

“Get the product right first, and get the business model right,” he says.

“When you come to the US, there’s an expectation that you’re ready to go on a global basis, to scale your business,” he adds.

While he notes that every business does things slightly differently, and there’s no one right answer, any startup hoping to secure high-profile partnerships “has to be in shape to grow globally”, he explains.

“It’s good for you to be prepared to do that.”

While Australia is still home from GeoSnapShot, the startup has been global from day one, Edwards adds.

Personally, he has found it “really rewarding” to work with US companies.

The market is objective and fast-moving, he explains, and decisions are made very quickly.

“If you have good product-market fit and the business model works, they’re willing to give it a go,” he says.

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is the editor at StartupSmart. You can contact her at [email protected].

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