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Kapturise: The Story Behind UAE’s Newly Launched On-Demand Photography Startup

Since the platform’s launch earlier this month, 400 photographers have registered, and the startup’s already turning heads with their innovative service. We speak to founder and CEO Habeeb Furqan on the inspiration behind the venture.

“Pics or it didn’t happen.” The infamous colloquial mantra of the hyperconnected 21st century, and the bedrock of a new venture. Kapturise, a new UAE-based photography startup, adopts an on-demand model, enabling users and clients to book photo or video sessions. The content is delivered within 24 hours, and the platform acts as a much-needed middleman for independent photographers and videographers to increase their earnings, and get more gigs.

“When we’re talking about businesses, there’s this sheer excitement we’ve seen towards Kapturise. The aspect of on-demand, they love it,” Habeeb Furqan, founder and CEO of Kapturise tells Startup Scene. “Photographers on the other side now feel like they have, kind of, a godfather that’s overlooking the whole process. So it’s sort of a win-win-win.”

While I’m reluctant to use the “this [startup name] is the [name of established household brand] of [name of industry]”, there is a desire to point out how adopting an on-demand model, such as Uber’s, is entirely inventive for the photography industry. Clients, individuals and, of course, photographers stand to benefit from Kapturise’s streamlined process.

“It’s really simple. All you do is fire up the app, pin your location, and if a photographer is close by, they’ll head towards you to help you do any kind of shoot. Be it vlogs, capturing casual candids or do a TikTok video, you name it,” Furqan explains. “For clients, there’s real estate shoots, menu photography for restaurants and virtual tours. And after a photographer accepts a request, a user would be able to browse their past work and portfolio to get a sense, and from there the user accepts the payment and the journey begins. The client then receives the edited material within 24 hours. The transaction is almost immediate.”

Kapturise was meant to launch earlier this year in March, but that of course came to a halt when the Coronavirus crisis crept its way around the world. However, after launching this month, things are starting to fall in place like a neatly stacked Tetris for the budding startup, particularly through the unexpected gold mine that is the tourism industry. After months of quarantines and nationwide lockdowns, Dubai’s tourism is now springing back to a fast rebound. According to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the city’s currently among the top five destinations for internet searches or tourist destinations.

“We’re getting a lot of traction from tour companies right now. It’s also no coincidence that it’s the result of the UAE being one of the very few countries that remains open to the world,” notes Furqan. “Tourists flock here and they’re really keen on documenting it, to flaunt that they’ve been to Dubai. As for individuals, one of the most popular requests right now is newborn photos. Parents no longer want to take their babies to a studio anymore, so they’re looking for photographers to come - along with their props - to their location and capture that moment for them.”

Furqan’s forte also ties into how Kapturise came to be. The entrepreneur was one of the initial employees at Dubai-born courier service, Fetchr. Delivery companies are no rarity now, but the company launched in 2012 - when the industry was not as rife with delivery and courier apps - and the subsequent boom worked in their favour.

“Fetchr was one of the first companies in the Middle East to be funded by Silicon Valley. Our series A was $11.5 million and our series B was $52 million. I was the global Head of Sales, overseeing six countries. So as far as exposure, I was able to amass an incredible hands-on experience. So when it came time to start Kapturise, we basically replicated the [logistics] model from Fetchr.”

The final shove for Furqan was on a family vacation in Bali. “We were out on a boat, and my sister had brought along her DSLR camera. Renting the boat was quite pricey, and instead of enjoying the trip she was just taking photos,” Furqan recalls. “The boat’s captain then offered to take pictures instead, and the results were probably the best pictures we have as a family. They’re all candids, none of us posing. Just moments. And that’s when it resonated. From there it grew into thinking what if we dabble, not just with individuals such as graduation ceremonies and weddings, but businesses such as e-commerce, restaurants, real estate or fashion.”

And since that fateful boat ride, Kapturise launched this month with over 400 photographers registered on its platform, and Furqan is also already laying out regional expansion plans into Saudi Arabia.

Kapturise now has over 400 photographers registered on its platform, and Furqan is also already laying out regional expansion into Saudi Arabia. “When trying to figure out the building blocks of Kapturise, the question was how do we scale this up in a way that benefits photographers, individuals and businesses,” said Furqan. “After many 101s with all these facets, and hailing from all the experiences that I’ve had during my background in consulting and Fetchr, it started to become really clear how we’ll go about this. When you’re introducing a new concept to the market, during a global crisis nevertheless, it will definitely be a challenge to get the name out there, the buzz going and people on board. And so far it’s just boding really well.”

Main photo: Habeeb Furqan, founder and CEO of Kapturise 




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