21 December 2014

Startup of the day: Picturk

06:28, Adrian Weckler

**Company:** Picturk

**Founders:** Paul Geraghty, Christian Sommerauer

**What it does:** provides customised cloud software for camera clubs and camera competitions

**Status:** active, see [website](http://www.picturk.com)

**Funding:** €30,000 from DCU Ryan Academy Propellor Venture Accelerator Programme, €50,000 from Enterprise Ireland's Competitive Startup Fund

According to the International Federation of Photography (Fiap), there are more than 100,000 photography clubs around the world with at least 60 members.

In Ireland, there are about 100 such clubs, North and South. In Britain, there are over 2,500.

To most, this seems like an interesting statistic pertaining to a pleasant hobby. To Paul Geraghty, it is an addressable market.

Together with Swiss-born Christian Sommerauer, Geraghty has created Picturk, an online service that focuses on camera clubs and camera competitions.

"Camera clubs are a pre-existing social network that have been overlooked a little," said Geraghty.

"Last year, the photography market was worth about €230 billion, worldwide. It's growing at between 10 and 15 per cent a year. Camera clubs are popular and there's a lot of money being invested in the activity."

Surprisingly, Irish camera clubs come up strongly against their international competitors. Last year, Dundalk Photography Club was ranked number one in the world by Fiap. Celbridge was ranked number three.

What Picturk does is to offer easy-to-use online methods for accepting and judging photography competitions. Many amateur photographers are more than a little competitive.

"It's a way of using game mechanics in the most fundamental way to drive interest," said Geraghty.

"The problem with services such as Flickr and Facebook is that they don't really give you satisfactory ways to judge competitions properly. This software does."

Judging is a crucial part of the system.

"The whole point is that no-one has yet cracked this particular online nut," said Geraghty. They haven't really accentuated this as a piece of groupware. So we've made judging a feature in the way that the community understands, not as some mapped-on thing."

The packages vary in cost between €90 and €250, depending on the size of the club. Paying customers already include Malahide Photography Club.

This year, Picturk will be managing the software for the Fiap-accredited Tallaght International Salon of Photographic Art which, last year, received over 4,500 entries from around the world.

Picturk has also just started DCU Ryan Academy's Propellor Venture Accelerator Programme, from which it receives €30,000 in exchange for 6.5 per cent of the company. The firm has also received €50,000 from Enterprise Ireland's Competitive Startup Fund.

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