Remember those disposable cameras strewn on the tables at wedding receptions back in the day? As you partied, you snapped away and then left the camera behind for the happy couple to compliment their photographer’s formal shots. Well that system has had a major upgrade with the advent of smartphones, but even that is about to go to the next level. Introducing Snapcastr.
Charleston startup, Snapcastr, rocked both Charleston Fashion Week and Dig South with its hit mobile app that enables event goers to share photos and comments together and send their pics onto a live & interactive screen.
Snapcastr co-founder, Brian Tice, says:
“We helped Charleston Fashion Week really engage its audience during the event…by showing all of their social media content on big screens in multiple tents so that the attendees could watch all that cool social media content come to life, and after the event in their online gallery with over 3,000 pictures.”
Like that wedding where guests were encouraged to take their best shots, most of us have texted and uploaded shots from our smartphones to social media not only for weddings we’ve attended but also conferences, sporting events and concerts—but how to get them all into one place? Snapcastr is the answer. This app keeps you from worrying about missing great photos from your event. Not only does it collect all of the photos and store them in one location in real time, you can also keep your guests engaged after the event.
HOW IT WORKS
Snapcastr is designed for event hosts to help engage and entertain their audiences. Here’s how it works: You pay a fee to have your event created in the Snapcastr app based on the type and size of your event. Add your sponsors, favorite hashtags and keywords and watch as it collects all of your social media content. You filter out the inappropriate or irrelevant pictures with the swipe of a finger, and then Snapcastr sends everything to big screens around your event, live.
Attendees download and install the free mobile app and join your event using the app’s geolocation feature to determine what events are nearby. Once joined, they participate in real time sharing pictures, capturing live votes, and posting comments. All of this content can be displayed live by projecting it onto a big screen.
Snapcastr also boosts your event’s social media presence by aggregating all of the content that is posted through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and pulls it into one feed saving you the hassle of searching through multiple hashtags. The app allows you to interact with content as it comes through, and you can even send rewards back to attendees, such as backstage passes.
Afterwards, all of the photos are gathered and saved into an online gallery. Snapcastr provides you with a link to that gallery so you can post onto Facebook, email to attendees and sponsors, or embed into your own website to keep your guests engaging with your event and driving traffic back to their website over and over again.
HOSTING AN EVENT WITH SNAPCASTR
Using Snapcastr at your next event couldn’t be easier—nothing more than a laptop, wi-fi connection, and projector is needed. Hosts also have the option of making events public to all or private and password protected, where invitees are specifically chosen.
Snapcastr even has a built-in moderation feature for brand-conscious events that want to monitor what images are being displayed. You can assign a moderator within your organization that can easily approve or deny content with a swipe on a smartphone after an image is submitted but before allowing projection on the big screen. For events that want access to unfiltered content, simply turn off moderation.
Snapcastr founders, Brian Tice and Sean Stewart both caught the entrepreneurial bug and found each other through Cofounderslab.com, a website that uses individual’s skill-sets to match entrepreneurs seeking partners with whom to start a business.
After they each got married, they came up with the idea for Snapcastr. Both of them noticed what a hassle it was collecting all the photos for their big day from texts and social media everywhere. “We noticed some of the best photos were candids texted to us from smartphones,” says Tice. “We thought, ‘Wow, these are great pictures but if only a few of our friends texted these to us, how many more pictures were taken that we haven’t seen?’ The idea was that if we had a shareable photo album people could join and then all of those pictures at the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception, could have been added to a common gallery everyone could share. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of texting and emailing photos around.”
Snapcastr was bootstrapped and developed in Tice’s living room with Stewart handling development of the app, and Tice managing the business and investment side of things.
The initial concept for Snapcastr was to cater it to event and wedding planners, but that idea quickly evolved into a solution for major corporate conferences, concerts, and even sporting events with attendees ranging upwards of 50K people.
Snapcastr does not see itself as a competitor to other event vendors such as photographers, photo booth providers, or slideshows but rather as a compliment to their services by capturing all the candid moments that are often missed. “You hire photographers to capture all these beautiful photos but what about the candid moments? Everyone has a smartphone, why not put them to use? We don’t see ourselves as competing but complimenting them,” says Tice.
CHARLESTON HARBOR ACCELERATOR
Tice and Stewart were able to elevate Snapcastr to another level when they were accepted into the Harbor Accelerator cohort program, which provided them with the resources and support network to accelerate their business. “It was mostly to get out of my living room,” chuckles Tice. “The Harbor Accelerator pushes you to engage with customers, refine your value proposition, and teaches you how to build and scale your business.” The 14-week program culminated with Snapcastr pitching their business to a room of investors at Dig South with the goal of seeking capital.
ADVICE FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Tice and Stewart have been very aggressive in releasing weekly updates to Snapcastr based on user feedback. Tice shares his advice for other entrepreneurs:
“Because we’re so small and agile, we can respond to our customers almost instantly, doing a release of our software once a week. Number one, you have to read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries and change your mindset about what is required to get started. So many people get stuck thinking they need to spend a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars fully building their software before releasing it to the world. What you need to do is release that minimum viable product—that thing that is the ugliest solution, but it works. Whatever features the market wants, those are the features you add. That has been an epiphany for us and made the entire launching process possible.”
In addition to both Charleston Fashion Week and Dig South, Snapcastr has been a huge hit at other local events such as the College of Charleston basketball games, the annual conference for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the USS Yorktown Countdown New Year’s Eve celebration.
The Snapcastr team plans to continue adding features such as event discovery and video posting, as well as spreading out and doing events all over the country.