106: SnapWire – An Innovative Take on The Traditional Stock Photo Industry.
Today I want to tackle the topic of photography. Instagram unleashed the creative side in people and created a love of the art of photography before it became saturated with selfies and food pics. I recently discovered SnapWire. This allows businesses to pitch a brief and photography challenges to the global community and then they pay for authentic photographs that they want. SnapWire is an on-demand stock photography marketplace inviting its photographers to own the business that gets them business. I invited Grant Harvey and Chad Newell from SnapWire onto the show to talk about their story and successfully launching a Title III Equity Crowdfunding Campaign.
Can you tell the listeners a little about yourselves and what you do?
My name is Chad Newell and I’m the founder and CEO of a company called SnapWire. SnapWire is a unique twist on the commercial photography and stock photography industry. It’s a ten billion dollar industry with big players you may have heard of like Getty Images and Shutterstock. I’ve been in this space almost twenty years. We saw an opportunity to launch SnapWire out of a new generation of photographers who were capturing beautiful visual aesthetics on Instagram.
My name is Grant Harvey. I’ve been working in Equity Crowdfunding for the last year. I worked at the company Crowdfund X until recently. We launched Equity Crowdfunding in the U.S with the launch of Regulation A+. I’ve been working on campaigns in this space for the past year up until now.
Chad Newell: The reason the two of us are on the call together is because SnapWire is in the middle of an Equity Crowdfunding Campaign. We’re working together and partnered up with Grant and his team to help us market this new effort here in the United States.
I believe you guys have two unique perspectives on raising capital for startups using separate rules. Can you explain the differences between these rules and then explain a little about SnapWire and why you chose to use Title III?
Grant Harvey: When the FCC passed the Jobs Act in the U.S it came with four separate regulations. One for accredited investor crowdfunding, another for crowd funding in the retail space and then interstate crowd funding. They call one of these terms Crowdfunding Plus or Title 4, known as regulation A. The two big ones, the one that’s for the really early stage of companies would be regulation crowd funding. The difference is you can raise up to one million and you don’t have to get a pre-approval from the FCC and fill out a ton of paperwork like you would with Title 4. In title 4 you can raise up to 50 million.
Chad Newell: We may still do a Title 4. What was unique about the Title 4 experience with a large community is we said let’s see if there is an initial interest in SnapWire. We went through the initial stages of a Title 4 to test the waters and had wild success. What happened was right around the time we were ready to file with the FCC Title 3 became available under the Jobs Act which gave us the immediacy of launching a campaign without that approval which Grant mentioned.
Since your company is based outside of Silicon Valley does that increase your ability to raise capital in an extremely valuable way?
Chad Newell: Raising capital outside of the triangle (Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles) is always a challenge. You definitely have to align yourself with someone who can believe in your company and your vision and go out to their network to introduce the company to investors. As such SnapWire has had that lucky experience to find someone, his name is Alan Morgan.
He’s an angel investor who introduced us to his network of angel investors. We now have a strong community of angel investors who provided SnapWire its initial seed round. That’s where Silicon Valley becomes really important in the ability to network in the community where an investor finds comfort that you’re located there. However, the company we have is located in Santa Barbara and in my space I think the domain experience offsets the regional segregation of Los Angeles versus Santa Barbara. In all reality, we’re only a few miles above Los Angeles so we fall into the Southern California region by default.
Can you explain what awaits listeners that are on their way to SnapWire as they listen to this show?
Chad Newell: The most valuable thing about SnapWire to a photographer is that if you’re an aspiring photographer and you want to know what it feels like to be a pro photographer SnapWire provides that value proposition almost instantly. You have the chance to submit your photos that you feel are the best photos you can shoot to a business or brand that actually has a real need.