“Make Memories last a Lifetime”
Photography has come a long way since the first photograph was made by French inventor, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1822. Today the photograph has gone digital and the chemical processes that made photography are relegated to old school enthusiasts. The photos are not the same either with added improvements in technology aiding their creation. Raghuram KS , Rajasekhar Upputuri and Eric Schreiber are three entrepreneurs who understand not just the emotional value of photographs but the role of technology in enhancing them. After all the technology behind it may have changed but the intent to preserve memories is still the same.
Yourstory learnt more about their business idea “ScanCorner” and their entrepreneurial aspirations in an interview with the trio.
What is the photo concept that ScanCorner has used at its core business idea?ScanCorner is an online photo digitization venture helping people to preserve and share their most precious memories. We convert old photos, slides, negatives and other analog media into high quality digital formats. The venture was founded in April 2010 by 3 friends, Rajasekhar Upputuri and Raghuram KS from India and Eric Schreiber from Switzerland. Initially conceived for executing orders solely from Swiss customers, we have now expanded to Spain, Denmark and India
What are the services on offer and who can use them?
We operate the entire gamut of photo digitization: Photo scanning, Photo restoration and retouching and Photo sharing.
Everybody has memories; and has old photos, negatives, wedding albums, child hood albums, family collections etc. These photos can fade, lose color and disintegrate with time and even risk getting lost. By providing high quality scanning, for the first time in India, we intend to help people preserve those memories. Through our online gallery, people can share images to friends and family spread across the world, with a click. As you can see, this is a service for everybody. We also have a specialized service for professional photographers and business customersWe have developed expertise in digitizing almost all common analog photo formats used over the last 100 years: 35 mm negatives & slides, medium format negatives, APS films, 126 er instamatic films, Kodachrome slides, Polaroid photos, printed photos & albums and large format negatives. In addition to photo scanning, we also do photo restoration and retouching including premium photo coloring options
Can you tell us more on your background and experience before ScanCorner
All three of us have worked in an international environment for several years and met each other during the MBA program at CEIBS before starting the venture. Raja has a BE from BITS Pilani, Raghu has done BE from NIT Surat and Eric completed his Engineering from ETH Zurich. Also our professional experiences are complementary: Raja has IT and operations background, Raghu has marketing and business development experience and Eric is versatile in project management and quality assurance
What do you think is the key challenge for an (Indian) entrepreneur?
Lack of well developed entrepreneurial support system and herd mentality are major challenges. Absence of seed funding is another obstacle. Thankfully, we see things getting better and fastWhat sets ScanCorner apart from the neighborhood photo store?
While there are scores of small time players in Europe, we differentiate ourselves by providing much more than just scanning. For one, all photos are scanned through high end Nikon and Epson scanning equipment and undergo two stage quality checks before reaching the customer. Standard pricing includes scanning, cropping, image rotation, digital optimization, red eye removal, color correction and also digital ICE. For damaged photos, we undertake advanced restoration and retouching as an additional service. Photo coloring was added to the service portfolio recently and have met with enthusiastic response.
Another differentiator is our emphasis on sharing of memories. All scanned images are uploaded to our online gallery which facilitates quick sharing through Face book, Flickr and email.
In India, we are the first photo scanning firm and already seeing traction. Apart from individual customers, we also undertook a digitization assignment from Dept. of Archives, Govt. of AP. Another notable assignment was digitization of priceless photo collections of Deen Dayal family, who were the pre eminent photographers during the late 19th and early 20th century. Based on initial customer feedback, we have launched a unique home pickup solution covering over 400 towns across India. This, we hope, will save customer time and effort, besides making it possible for Non Resident Indians to place orders online through our website
Do you have any plans to expand your reach to other markets?
We have aggressive plans during the next few months to expand our footprint in Western Europe. There are already fruitful discussions with some retail chains in Europe and we hope to strike partnerships in coming months. We estimate photo digitization to be $3 billion business globally in the near future and completely poised to scale up
What has been the biggest challenge that ScanCorner has faced?
The biggest challenge was to convince the first few customers to ship the photos to us. In one case, we had to pursue a customer for 3 months. Finally, she agreed to send a trial order, probably to avoid our constant pestering. But once she received the shipment back, we were amazed to receive her call asking us to do her entire family collection. We also got orders from her relatives and friends through her.
What motivates you to carry on with entrepreneurship and ScanCorner?
We are so excited to see people trusting us with their precious memories. To put a smile on someone reliving their childhood joy is priceless and keep us motivated to design better offerings
What is your vision for ScanCorner in the coming 2 years?
Our vision is to emerge as a pan European player in the next 2 years and position ScanCorner as a trusted brand in India and Europe
Yourstory wishes Raghuram KS, Rajasekhar Upputuri and Eric Schreiber, many years of entrepreneurship and successful memories at ScanCorner. We wish them luck and success with their European expansion. Visit them here or follow them on Face book here
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