PicsOS and the group photo revolution

A Kiwi photography start-up is trying to raise $1.5m to get off the ground. Its plan: to take group photos individually. Can it carve a spot in a market that’s worth billions?

We’ve all been there, and we all dread them.

Group photos.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to take group photos if we weren’t actually, well, in a group?

Surprise: a Kiwi company is doing just that. Humanity, rejoice!

PicsOS is an Auckland-based outfit that is able to put together group pictures by taking individual photos of each person to be included in the “group” shot. The individual photos are then added together digitally, and the resulting product is so convincing that it’s not possible to tell they were taken one-by-one.

The company was one of several featured at the ICE Angels 2015 showcase in Auckland on September 24, where co-founder and CEO Jon Doherty outlined plans for expansion and why PicsOS could change the way group photography is done in New Zealand.

Image: PIcsOS CEO, Jon Doherty 

And there are big goals: by 2019, PicsOS hopes to have annual revenue in the $13 million range.

To get itself on track for making such a large amount of money, PicsOS is seeking $1.5 million on a $3 million pre-money valuation. So far, $350,000 has been raised.

So yeah, it still has a ways to go.

The numbers they’re shooting for may seem large, but large resources have already been poured into the venture. Under the PhotoWonder NZ brand, a two-year proof of concept worth $1 million was undertaken. About 20,000 individuals across Auckland were photographed, including 1,000 groups and about 120 schools/clubs.

Those are respectable figures, sure. And there’s a big pile of money for PicsOS to dig into. Group photography is worth US$6 billion each year, so it’s not just a big pile of money, but a gigantic mountain of cash.

At ICE Angels, the CEO Doherty explained the company was expected to break even in September 2017 under its current business model. In 30 months, he said, PicsOS hoped to have 8,000 subscribers in about 30 months.

It would also be great, he said, if the company were eventually bought out by one of the big photography players like Kodak, Panasonic or Getty.

It may be an incredibly lofty goal for a start-up in such a short time, but let’s not kid ourselves and just admit the truth: we’d all be excited if we no longer had to stand for seemingly hours for group photos we were never going to buy anyway.