— Tell me about your product.
— Before Photoshop could only work specialists. Then there was a boom of photo editors. Today, many data processing tasks already close AI algorithms. But due to the fact that the photos have different backgrounds, and people have different ideas about beauty, is the request for manual processing of images. This niche we are trying to close.
Our app connects LookMe willing to handle your photos with professional photo editors and works as Uber: the customer is a technical task, and the platform distributes it among the workers that handle photos in Photoshop.
Alpha-launch took place at the end of November 2018. The cost of one treatment ranges from 41 to 300 rubles. The target audience of the project — Russia, Europe and America. In these countries, especially in capitals, to pay about a dollar for photo processing — no problem. The app is available in 22 languages. Now we are at the stage of active development working on the core product which is to be developed.
— How did the idea for the app?
— I am by profession a financier, but my hobby is to run it projects: I have in the phone there is a folder where I collect ideas. LookMe doing in parallel with the main work. So the choice was important three criteria: so I can do a startup out of hours; had a clear business model and a sufficient market for development.
LookMe — conscious mathematical choice. With the active growth of social networks, the demand for processing of photos is growing galloping pace. According to our estimates, 68% of the photos that you see online, are some kind of improvement.
We analyzed the market unloaded from Google Play statistics on downloads and for apps that do photo processing. It turned out that 12% of people left negative reviews or gave them a low rating. This came to the conclusion that the market is not satisfied and the potential volume only among the owners of devices on Android is at least 260 million people.
App Store download statistics did not disclose. Because of the impossibility of assessing market share among iPhone owners, we decided to approach it conservatively and assumed that only 50% of the audience Google Play or still 130 million people.
Foreign investors say that the project will not be a “unicorn”. But it is a conscious choice, as we set up long-term stable business. Even by conservative calculations, our project is profitable.
— Who is his audience and how many users?
— We target the product for active users of social media, primarily instagram. Collectively it’s been downloaded over 15 thousand people, which has handled more than 5 thousand photos. The app entered the top App Store in the CIS and Baltic countries (e.g. in Belarus, even climbed to seventh place in its category).
— How the service is in high demand in the era of bodypositive?
The trend on the desire to become more beautiful and better is always there. Bodypositive, I think, just hype. Each new trend is the desire and the ability of the business to Spud a new audience segment. There is a group for which bodypositive became fashionable, and for her to do advertising. Working with polar groups or with those who promote bodypositive, or with those who regularly goes to the gym — the only brands to increase their profits.
— How monetized app?
— The app itself is free, photo processing — for the money. Until the day comes 5-30 orders. In the near future I want to go to a thousand daily orders. The average cost of one treatment are expected to be 70 rubles. Apple’s Commission is 30%, editors earn an average of 26 rubles per one treatment. Therefore, the operating profit of the service is about 23 rubles with one treatment. The profit potential of the world market in our niche is 21 billion rubles a year.
LookMe in numbers
5 to 30 orders per day
70 rubles — the expected average cost of one treatment
23 — ruble operating profit of the service with one treatment
15 thousand downloads
5 thousand processed photos
— Can reveal the indicators, if you already earn?
In advertising we have not yet invested, but beautiful profit graph is a straight line under 60 degrees. But in fact the revenue is still very small — an average of about 4 dollars a day. This noticeable strong difference in the conversion rate of users who have downloaded apps, those who made a purchase, countries. For example, in Europe 100 downloads have 5 purchases in the United States 7, and in Belarus this index will be 10 times less. Despite the fact that because of her we came in the top financial purchases there almost was not.
— Who are your competitors?
In General, now on the market there are a large number of automatic and semi-automatic solutions, with a niche of the marketplace for processing photos at the moment are filled with not much. The most successful competitor in this area is the app Retouchme. There are also a number, in my opinion, weaker international projects, such as Retouchify, RetouchBody, ProRetouch and others. But the functionality and user friendliness of their teams have yet much to improve.
— How are you different from the rest?
— A feature of our app is in-built internal mechanism for control of execution of orders. The best guarantee of our work for free is the willingness to modify orders, when customers evaluate the result by less than 5 points.
— What means the project is developing?
— LookMe — the first startup that I founded and own with my money. Now looking for an investor. In particular, funds are needed for marketing. I think to test all our hypotheses and in particular to launch its own artificial intelligence for image processing, will need 30 million rubles.
— In what form the customer is a technical specification?
— The application has a set of options from which to choose. For example, to whiten teeth, make a perfect figure to paint his bald head. For standardization of order we have left intentionally, because to do it better with the wording “Make me beautiful” is impossible. So you don’t understand what I want from you, and “beautiful” are different. And try yet. Filled the terms of reference goes to the editor. The editor has instructions on what to react, what not — comic orders we do not charge.
— The processing speed of one photo?
— Provided a normal flow of customers and constant presence in the online editor should meet in 15 minutes.
— How willing a person is willing to entrust the processing of your photos the man on remote, which is not familiar?
— How many photo editors are already working with you? On what basis?
Six photo editors. Remote work, free schedule. Provided that the processing of one photo takes about 10-15 minutes, a man works 8 hours, 22 working days per month and makes about 1,000 treatments, his income may be about 25 000 rubles. Photo editors come on the platform and take the order.
To the editor were always available online, we attract people from other time zones. So, we already have editor in Kazakhstan.
— How the platform monitors the time and quality of work photo editors?
— The editor has an office — a workspace with the button “Take order”. Clicking on it, it receives the image, processes it, and returns. In the master admin I can see when the editor took the order, how many worked on it, when returned and what you got. This tied his reward.
Usually estimate put 20-30 percent% of customers, 80% of them are satisfied. The customer who placed less than five stars or who something did not like, fills the feedback form and the image goes back for a free revision.
— Are you planning to expand the team of photo editors?
— While missing those who have. And to recruit people is not a problem. The profession of photo editor dies a little. The number of graduates is very large, the market is saturated. During the week the team can be expanded to a hundred people, would be orders. So to score the first people, we made a post on the popular website for freelancers — and only for one evening received 67 responses.
— How many people work in your team?
— Not including photo editors, our team of four people: me, technical Director (CTO), which is responsible for developing, Manager, which helps to structure the work with the editors, and the man who will develop the b2b direction. Also have a team of programmers. Someone on the salary, someone to share.
— What are the main difficulties you faced during the work on the project?
— The basic complexity — team.
Had problems with the developers freelancers can start and throw, do a low-quality product. It is not easy to find like-minded people willing to work the weekend. Easier to find those who will do anything for a lot of money. But at the start of the high amounts there, so you have to look for like-minded people willing to work for the idea. The main motivation for the current members of the team prospects.
Another problem is that processed photos stored in the app and require a large server space. We hope to solve through the help of IBM. They have a program to support start-UPS, which they can give capacities in the amount of $ 10,000. The offer to participate in the program we received during our acceleration in the “Phystech. The start”.
— Tell us about your experience with the accelerator “Phystech. Start”.
From April to June we participated in the accelerator. I came with interest — didn’t know what to expect. I can say that it turned out definitely useful. This experience served as a good kick to do more.
The most interesting — the engagement tracker, which at the time of acceleration actually became a member of the team, helped in the structuring of the product. If the result is tie with the anchor investor, will be a wow result. Now talking with two potential investors.
— You’ve been involved in several large corporate projects — what?
The first experience I have had in the project “100EGE” (later “Foxford”). Alexei Polovinkin had just started this business and I took part in it rather as a student on the job. A good experience was when I worked in the team of the service for foreign languages learning WordSteps (developed in parallel with “Lingala”).
Was the financial project in Thailand — P2P the service did not start due to local legislation. This experience is very helpful. Understand your limitations, you begin to look differently at the market, ideas, reasons of failures and success of projects, the importance of the team.
— What are your plans for the future?
— Currently testing the alpha version in July will be a beta version for iPhone with a new UI interface and a choice of treatment power. Also soon launch the app for Android iOS with the same functionality. Through the year I want to get about 10,000 orders per day and to enter the world market. In this scenario, the annual profit can reach 80 million rubles.
In the next two years plan to take more than 1% of global market of apps for processing photos and to attract at least 3 million users with net profit more than 40 million rubles per year.
We would like to zapaterias with social networks and Dating sites. Figuratively speaking, to have the avatar have button “to individual treatment and to increase attention to your profile by 20%.” With partners willing to share profits.
We also plan to train its own neural network and after six months to have the first version of the app with the auto-process.
Now one of the key issues for building AI algorithms, the training data. LookMe advantage is that we have these data appear automatically and free of charge, though already marked, that is, in the finished form required for neural network learning. And after six months we are planning on a par with our marketplace to the neural network, which is also able to process photos on a wide range of parameters.
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