GEOSNAPSHOT Founder and CEO Andy Edwards shares his insights on designing a business for scale and how he built his ideal Board of Advisors.
GEOSNAPSHOT Founder and CEO Andy Edwards shares his insights on designing a business for scale
Imagine you just crossed the finish line of a marathon, walked the stage at graduation, landed the perfect 360º. Months of dedication, culminating in a single triumphant point in time. These are the moments that Andy Edwards wants to make sure we all remember.
Andy is the Founder and CEO of GEOSNAPSHOT, a startup that connects photographers to the world. Their mission is to help anyone, anywhere discover and cherish these moments. The subscription free platform helps amatuer and professional photographers quickly and easily share or sell their photos from sporting events, school activities, fundraisers and everything in between.
We sat down with Andy to learn about how the business has evolved since the early days, and why growth is the north star for his young company.
How did the idea for GEOSNAPSHOT come about?
So, I’ve always been interested in photography. You know that moment when you take a photo, turn the camera around, and see someone smile? It’s incredibly powerful for me.
Years ago, as a dutiful husband, I would join my wife at these weekend-long equestrian events where she would compete. Unfortunately, there was usually just one professional photographer present. Imagine 600 people in a 10 acre field, with just one person trying to capture it all. There were rarely photos of her, and they were often expensive. It was just not a good system.
As I got better and better at outdoor and sports photography I realised there was no simple way of distributing, let alone selling these photos. If you're not prepared to run a website, it’s virtually impossible. That's where GEOSNAPSHOT was born.
Note: Andy’s written a great post about getting his business off the ground. Read it here.
What's surprised you most as you've grown?
What surprised me is seeing people join the platform from all over the world. We get really high quality photographers that want to utilise all the technology of our platform, and integrate it into their own websites, which of course they can do.
We've got over 7000 photographers, in 73 different countries. Our website operates in 100 languages and 44 different currencies. It's just amazing to see how genuinely excited people are. Photographers will find us and they'll say ”This is amazing. I didn't even know this existed!”
I couldn’t do a better job marketing than that, right?
You recently recruited a Board of Advisors. What spurred this decision?
There's always been a fear in me about having a board. I was scared that I'd be giving away control. But there becomes a point in your growth where founders need help.
You brought the company to a certain stage, but you have to realise sometimes what your limitations are. Through (Investible cofounder) Creel Price’s webinar on Growth Boards, I realised that this was exactly what we needed. I need people around me who have been through this journey, who have scaled companies from where we are to multi hundreds of million dollar organisations, and help us avoid mistakes.
Bringing them on board has made me realise there are very talented people who I couldn't afford to pay, dedicated to and driving our company. It gives me a great sense of peace and excitement.
Tell us about the new members of the GEOSNAPSHOT Advisory Board
Simon came on, first of all, as chair of the board. On top of his deep experience as an investor and startup advisor, he was great at helping me interview the people we thought were very capable. We didn’t want too much overlap between them.
Ben is extremely good with analytics and product. He scaled Envato from 100 to 600 employees, and hundreds of millions of dollars for the company. Chris has scaled up a sports based organisation from Australia into the US, including securing investment there. He’s also got ties into the Olympic sporting networks, so his role at this stage is more catered toward opening doors to these types of opportunities.
What advice would you give to other founders looking to build a board like this?
Don't think you can do it all yourself. Think about where you want to be in 6, 12, 18 months time, and how you're going to get there. What do you need as a founder to compliment your skillset? What’s missing that you need help to achieve?
As founders, we all need to reach out for help once in a while for advice.
There is a wealth of talent out there. These people might have full time jobs, they might not. But if you can sell the vision to them, they’ll come along for the ride. Even if it’s just for a few hours a week. After exiting as a founder, many want to give back. I know I’ll want to share my talents and experience down the line.
Having people there alongside you to bounce things off is worth its weight in gold.
You were recently invited to participate in the Denver Global Landing Pad Program. What have you learned about scaling overseas?
There are a lot of unknowns when you're scaling your company from Australia into the U.S. There's tax, there's setup. Where do I get offices? How do I employ people?
The Global Landing Pad has taken the mystique away from it, and enabled me to have confidence about our expansion into the US. The program took us through an intense six weeks, dedicated to setting up your company in the U.S., including talking to lawyers, patent advisors, recruitment, all of it.
I always heard that you should put at least $250k away to set up your company in the U.S. I've now understood that it can be done for less than $10k.
How do you stay balanced when you’re not running your business or behind the camera?
I love adventure. I love challenging myself. I've sailed across the Atlantic, and the Pacific as well, which was a 10 month journey. I also do long distance cycling. I've cycled Melbourne to Sydney, I’ve cycled the whole of the UK.
I really love the solitude and the little challenges. It's very analogous to running a startup. It's hard work. You start each day with a big goal like 160km in mind. Every pedal gets you closer to your goal. There's a big vision, there's gonna be bumps along the way. But as long as you keep pedalling, you can get there.
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