Brisbane-based startup Travelshoot recently signed a partnership arrangement with Flight Centre, less than a year after receiving a Lord Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneurs Program grant through Digital Brisbane.
Travelshoot connects clients with local photographers in over 30 cities across the globe.
It eliminates the problem of sub-standard selfies and amateur shots that look fine on your smart phone but pretty average when uploaded to a computer or printed.
Founder Sarah Pearce conceived Travelshoot following a 2012 trip to New York with her husband. She spent about 18 months working on the business part-time while also employed at Brisbane City Council, before turning her attention to it fulltime last year.
2015 was a pretty big year for the business, receiving national exposure on Channel Ten’s Shark Tank and being awarded professional development funding in the Lord Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneurs Program (LMBEP).
“The LMBEP was a fantastic opportunity for us to access some funding that would allow us to invest in some activities that were critical for our business,” Ms Pearce said.
“We utilised the grant on specialised legal and technology consulting and advisory services – these two areas are critical for our business right now. It’s one thing to have the bare bones type of stuff sorted – but with an aggressive global expansion plan, the type of advice we needed for our business was on another level.
“So the time we have been able to have with legal and technology experts with this money has definitely improved our business plan and made us feel secure in moving forward with playing in the global market.”
Recently, global travel giant Flight Centre announced an exciting partnership with Travelshoot.
“We were really excited that not only did they want to roll it out for one of their brands, but they saw it as a fit for all of their brands globally,” Ms Pearce said.
“I didn’t know anyone in the Flight Centre group. It wasn’t a warm lead or someone connecting me – I literally did some research, started in the marketing team and started talking with a lot of people, had lots of coffees and literally just started to coffee my way up to the right team that makes decisions around those types of products.”
From a handful of photographers who agreed to work with Ms Pearce in the business’s infancy, her network has expanded exponentially in a short period of time.
“It was absolutely a hard sell at the beginning,” she recalled.
“I mean, we didn’t even have a website. It was me over emails trying to explain what it was and to try and beg them to have a Skype conversation with me.
“We’ve just (hit) over the 100 mark of photographers and I think recently some of the media exposure we’ve been getting (has meant) we’ve been inundated with photographers, particularly locally in Australia, but we’ve had a lot more interest overseas as well.”
The Lord Mayor’s Budding Entrepreneurs Program provides practical support to some of the city’s best emerging startups.
It offers $5000 grants for entrepreneurs to attend a startup event or conference, obtain professional advice, join a support program, undertake education or participate in a trade mission.
Stay in touch with Digital Brisbane to learn more about the program, past winners and upcoming grant rounds.