#Asia This avid photographer quit his corporate job to build a marketplace for artists, art buyers


The startup recently raised an undisclosed sum in funding co-led by IAN Co-founder Raman Roy and former Flipkart CBO Ankit Nagori


Mahesh Nair is an avid photographer and has been a full-time photographer for nearly a decade. After two stimulating decades in the corporate world, in 2005, he quit his career to pursue his passion for nature and wildlife photography.

He started Picsdream, an online marketplace for photography. The startup recently raised an undisclosed sum in angel funding led by Raman Roy, CMD Quatrro and Co-founder of Indian Angel Network. Ankit Nagori, former Chief Business Officer at Flipkart and Harish Natarajan, former CEO of Bausch & Lomb India, also co-invested, along with a few more individuals.

e27 talked to Nair to know more about his venture.

Here are the edited excerpts:

How and from where did you get the idea for Picsdream? What is the story behind it?

Picsdream was conceptualised from my experience. I am a professional photographer and a corporate dropout. My vast experience in the space made me realise that Indian photographers still do not have tangible avenues to showcase their work. The often asked question ‘what can I do with my photographs?’ drove me to find a solution. I felt the deserving need for a platform for community building where one could share and learn and better their photography – and consequently Picsdream was born.

I have been a full-time photographer for nearly a decade. After two stimulating decades in the corporate world, in 2005, I quit my established career to pursue my passion for nature and wildlife photography. My work has been showcased by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), as well as National Geographic.

What is Picsdream all about? How does it work?

Picsdream is the first of its kind community of photographers to share, learn and better their skills. It is also a true marketplace for these artists/creators/photographers to connect to buyers of affordable art.

The website and app have a range of features to create a strong community of Indian photographers aiming to showcase their work. Picsdream is positioned to be a true visual arts community for photographers to share best practices and also learn from experts.

Unlike other websites that offer downloads, Picsdream will offer its consumers the option of downloads as well as having the photographs they like be printed on a variety of canvases such as acrylic, wood, aluminium and cloth, then sent to their doorstep.

Do you also work with enterprises?

B2B selling is our focus area for selling our photographs. Currently, we have no plans to source photographs from any enterprises though it can’t be ruled out in future.

Mahesh Nair

Mahesh Nair

How is it different from other existing photography marketplaces in the market?

There are international sites like 500px, SmugMug and Crated which offer similar services. However, Picsdream is the first Indian platform focussed on the Indian photographers and the Indian market.

The main difference is that Picsdream is first a photographer community site and then a marketplace. The platform is meant for all photographers — beginners to semi professionals. It is a platform for them to interact, share and learn best practices apart from selling their work. The main competition for Picsdream in India would be from stock photo sites, which primarily cater to the advertising industry. Picsdream shall address a more diverse market altogether, which would include individuals as well as institutional buyers.

Picsdream would be primarily crowd sourced and hence have mass appeal, whereas stock photo sites do not provide such a platform.

Furthermore, the photographs on Picsdream would be available to consumers to buy as prints on the medium of their choice as well as in the download-ready form.

Picsdream would be unique in its focus of building a strong community that promotes sharing and learning.

What is the current traction? How Many professionals are you working with?

That is a dynamic number and we are currently a little shy of 4 digit number.

What is your revenue model?

Picsdream offers a freemium model. It shall derive revenues from subscriptions, share of sales, advertising as well as photography related e-commerce. The price of the photographs can be decided by the contributor or they can ask our experts for help in pricing

What are the massive opportunities and what are the key challenges you are facing in this sector?

Vision for Picsdream is to create a platform which would be the biggest platform for the Indian visual art community. Starting with photographs, then videos and then to other forms of visual art, Picsdream would be the largest community and marketplace for visual arts in India. Taking the initiative forward, Picsdream can form a platform for videographers and independent filmmakers to share their initiatives and trailers, to attract viewership, discuss with fellow filmmakers, or even find producers to take projects further. Hence, while it begins at photographers, the community has chances for exponential growth while including all forms of art.

Are you planning to raise funding in the near future?

Once we get the traction that we are gunning for, we will look at raising a Series A funding. We expect it to be sometime in the last quarter of this year.

Are you also facilitating cross-border transactions?

As part of our roadmap, we will soon implement multiple currency options on the site so that foreign contributors can price their photograph in a currency that they are comfortable with and so can buyers buy in any currency.

The post This avid photographer quit his corporate job to build a marketplace for artists, art buyers appeared first on e27.

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