Start-up snapshot: South African platform ‘uberising’ photography

Tapsnapp founders Vije Vijendranath (left) and Jaiprakash Sewram

South African start-up Tapsnapp, launched at the start of this year, is an online platform that connects photographers with potential customers. Those seeking photography services select their requirements – the type of shoot they want and their budget – and Tapsnapp suggests a list of possible photographers (together with their portfolio and rating) that can fulfill their needs. It’s almost like Uber, but for photography.

In addition, the platform provides customers with the ability to book ‘experiences’ provided by independent tourism operators all over South Africa. Tapsnapp then provides photographers to tag along, who have been integrated on the platform, for the operators to include photography services in their existing offerings.

“This allows Tapsnapp to provide a combined service to customers to have experiences and get it captured by a professional photographer, which is then provided as a memory for the customers afterwards,” said Tapsnapp founders Vije Vijendranath and Jaiprakash Sewram.

Tapsnapp provides fixed upfront pricing for all shoots booked, forgoing possible budget surprises for customers.

Vijendranath and Sewram briefed How we made it in Africa on their business experiences thus far.

1. How did you finance your start-up?

We bootstrapped with our own funds, and raised capital through family and friends.

2. If you were given US$1m to invest in your company now, where would it go?

It would go into platform expansion and marketing to get more leisure/tourism operators on board, as well as provide better photography to market said operators and their offerings. Good photography will ensure better marketing and exposure for customers overseas to use our platform. The money would also be used to support international visitor marketing so they can pre-plan their experiences through our platform.

3. What risks does your business face?

We provide experiences by connecting with many operators and the risk is they may not provide the quality service as required. This is even after vetting them through, they can still make errors that can affect the brand image.

4. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

Word of mouth, as well as Instagram marketing through sharing of photos of experiences.

5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

Getting so many photographers joining our platform when we showed them how they can differentiate their services when applied to an industry like travel and tourism.

6. Tell us about your biggest mistake, and what you’ve learnt from it.

We focused a lot on getting photographers, which has been very successful, but we didn’t market enough with customers – as our platform still needed a lot of development. However, getting customers on board earlier would have helped us refine the platform better to cater for customers that need experiences.