Not too long ago, professional photographers used to take pictures with traditional film cameras. It wasn’t easy, would take days to develop, you couldn’t really back them up and there were a lot of other issues but the improvements in camera technology esp. during the last ten-fifteen years have changed the course of professional photography. Yes digital cameras have been there for forty years in some form but its only emergence and affordability of Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras in recent times that has disrupted the professional photography in modern era.
Inspite of all of these advances and disruption in the professional photography, it’s not so easy to find photographers in our region. Whenever you need services of a professional photographer for an event or your business, you would rely on recommendations and then look them up on Facebook or some other medium to see their portfolio. Finally when you have made the choice, comes the negotiation part which is as tiring as finding a photographer itself.
Mosawer.net, a recently launched Cairo-based startup wants to change all of that. Co-founded by Mohab Elmandouh, Mohamed Basha & Mourad Ashry, its a marketplace that connects professional photographers and videographers with people who need their services. Launched about two months ago, Mosawer.net has more than 700 photographers signup within first week after going live. As of now it has more than 1,500 photographers and videographers in about 50 different categories, and 200 clients.
The idea comes from the troubles of Mohab Elmandouh, Mosawer.net ‘s Co-Founder & CEO who couldn’t find a food photographer for days to work on a project with his former employer.
“Mosawer.net’s idea came when I was looking for a food photographer for a project I was working on and I couldn’t believe how hard it was to find one. I ran a research with photographers and found out they’re facing similar issues to find clients and market themselves. So I figured out that its a two-way problem and needs a solution.” Elmandouh tells us.
The platform currently lets clients post their photography jobs to receive applications or contact the photographers to discuss the possibility of working with them, without posting a job. The platform has created more than 86 successful jobs since it went live and it takes 2-4 hours on average for a client to receive offers and hire someone after they post a job. As of now, majority of the photographers on the platform are in Egypt with very few of them from some other countries of the region but Mosawer.net’s team is speaking to professional photographers from all over the region to have them on the platform.
Currently available for free to both photographers and clients, Mosawer.net plans to charge 20% commission for every project the photographers receive from the platform, after they introduce payment option within the platform later this year. Currently payments are not handled by Mosawer.net.
“Even though our payment tools are ready, we have ntot launched them yet as we are trying to build traction for now. The payment solutions will be launched by end of year. Our business model will be freemium for photographers with premium subscriptions for added benefits as well as commission based (we charge 20% commission to the photographer & it’s free for clients).” Elmandouh notes.
“But we’ll also have corporate accounts with extra benefits in return for a 15% commission if they choose to hire us to handle their photography projects for them. We’ll be responsible for the whole thing in that case.”
He comes with more than thirteen years of experience in Advertising & Marketing all across GCC & Egypt. Mohammed Basha, the Co-founder & Creative Director of Mosawer.net is also a Subject Matter Expert and has more than ten years of experience with different global digital agencies. Mourad Ashry, CTO of Mosawer.net is a serial entrepreneur and has founded two more startups, PayMe & LocName. All three of them went to the same school and have known each other for more than 25 years.
The three are very ambitious about Mosawer.net with plans to open an office in Dubai later this year or early next year. They also have plans to extend the platform to other professionals from the photography industry which will include editors, directors of photography, models, stylists, makeup artists, and hairdressers to be able to offer 360-degree photography solutions.
“So we’re aiming to have a hub for photographers and clients where they can hire all the professionals they need for any project. Also, the list of features grow tremendously providing professionals with all the tools they need to grow their businesses so they could focus on what they do best and leave the rest to us.” Elmandouh tells MENAbytes.
Currently incubated at Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) in Cairo, they are bootstrapping the startup for but are in talks with some investors to raise a seed round soon.