Job opportunities often develop out of the blue, as many creative professionals can attest.
Consider the freelance photographer who stumbles across a potential client during a social gathering. The photographer likely carries a cache of photos on his smartphone — everything from wedding photography to one's pet Chihuahua.
And while there's plenty of volume there, it can't be organized for an on-the-spot pitch to an out-of-the-blue client.
The founders of 30 Second Showcase have developed an app aimed at fixing that.
“What you do with your app is bring together parts of what you think they are going to want and answer their questions before they ask it,” said James Kaiser, CEO of the Clifton-based startup, which just completed a business boot camp and earned $25,000 in seed capital from technology accelerator Tech Launch. “The essential secret to a successful sale is to know exactly what your client wants.”
The 30 Second Showcase app enables professionals to create and store “microportfolios” of their best work, each customized to different potential clients. It's mostly targeted at “creative professionals” — photographers and graphic designers — a community the startup estimates contains more than 3.3 million people making up a $38 billion industry.
The idea was born after one of its founders — wedding videographer Clarence Stone, also chief operating officer — noticed how many encounters for work arrived at unexpected moments.
“Those opportunities to get a successful job really happen at impromptu times,” Stone said.
The app is free, though 30 Second Showcase plans to charge for expanded features, such as access to analytics that detail who visits that professional's website and for how long, as well as the ability to create additional templates and attach one's logo and labels to their work.
“Analytics is going to be where the sweet spot is,” Kaiser said, estimating a $3 monthly charge for that service and varying targets for other services. “That's what people would want to know.”
The app is available on the Apple operating system, where it has about 250 users. The business aims to raise $250,000 in the next few months, mostly from angel investors, as part of a wider effort to fund its initial rollout and an expanded product lineup.
Stone said the ability to distinguish according to different client needs — in 30 seconds or less — will determine how much income the business generates.
“At the end of the day, if you understand your client, you can charge more and be comfortable with it,” Stone said.
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