Start-up

 

UTOPIX

Maxime Arcari & Sophie Verhulst & Matthieu Roy

2015
Communication | Marketing | NEST’up | AEI
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Utopix is the first Belgian platform specialized in providing, easily and quickly, photographers for companies and agencies. We work with more than 180 professionals, based all over Belgium, specialized in all fields of photography.

We match our clients with the best photographers who correspond to their specific needs in terms of experience, artistic sense and budget. We take care of the briefing, all the administrative matters, the transfer of rights and we send our clients the results of the shooting session. Throughout the duration of their order, we are their privileged contact and trusted partner. Next year Utopix will be available in the Benelux.

Put forward the singularity of you start-up, from its value added fo its innovative dimension.

 

Today we are witnessing a growing success across Europe of networking platforms, based on the Airbnb & Uber models, which make it possible to centralize offers and facilitate connections. It has never been easier to find a quality service provider to carry out a professional mission.

85% of our French neighbors have already used those connection platforms. A trend that is developing also in Belgium.

On the other hand, the world of communication and marketing has never communicated as much through photography as it does today. To boost their image, companies and agencies need to make quality photos of their products, services, events, teams… and to do so, they need a professional photographer!

Utopix takes part in these two growing trends and offers a brand new online platform, www.utopix.io, which allows our clients to find and to book a professional photographer based anywhere in Belgium. Utopix targets communication professionals, but also all project managers, free-lancers, etc. who need to call on professional photographers for their projects.

Today, outside their already existing professional network, they have to grapple with:

  • A disparate offer
  • A lack of recommendations
  • A complicated and time-consuming research
  • A lack of appropriate research and management tools
  • Unclear and very varied rates

 

  Utopix allows them to:
  • Save time with an offer that centralizes the photographers’ profiles by specialties. Also thanks to the Utopix team that provides a consulting and project support service.
  • Work with quality providers; the Utopix photographers are recruited on rigorous requirements criteria and are rated on the clients’ recommendations.
  • Choose a professional based on the matching with the photographer’s artistic sense, experience and references.
  • An automation of the customer order taking via the platform, thanks to a simplified form addressed directly and only to the artists of their choice.
  • A complete support by the Utopix team, from the pre-selection of the best profiles and if necessary to the delivery of the photos.
  • Benefits from all these services without additional costs. Utopix is remunerated by agreement with the photographers and not by overcharging its customers.
What were your motivations while creating the start-up?

The Utopix project is born on the benches of the university. During a lesson on business plans, we had to create a project and then present it in front of a jury, as our final exam. The idea gained our professors’ attention and they motivated us in the creation of our own company. Once we had graduated, we took some time to travel and think about what we really wanted in our professional lives. We decided to take our chance and applied for the start-up incubators “Nest-up” and… BINGO! We passed the selection and made it to the six final candidates, we could therefore benefit from three intensive months of coaching. Since then, we never stopped!

There is nothing better than steering our own ship and creating a solution, which answers a problem that people have been facing. Being an entrepreneur, it is also an opportunity for endless creation, innovation and most of all, for meeting an unbelievable amount of interesting and stimulating people, who help you moving on as a professional, but also as a person.

 

What obstacles did you face while creating it?

The first difficulty we encountered at the beginning was to find a co-founder with a technical background. The second was the access to pre-seed funding, there are a lot of public grants but they require heavy and binding paperwork.

Even if the process is actually getting better and better, as the access to funding and the “time” factor are both crucial for start-ups.

 

Did being a woman, besides of being a creator, appear to be a singularity in the start-up world?

I studied communication, a world in which we find a lot of women, however, my associate in the creation of Utopix was a man. The entrepreneurship is an ecosystem in which we encounter a great majority of men. There are almost as many women as men in the field of coaching, but on the contrary, when it comes to funding, women are extremely rare!

Until today, I must say that women entrepreneurs have been welcome with a lot of enthusiasm around me, and it does not seem as a drag.

 

What advices would you give to a future entrepreneur?

The best advice we could give would be to surround yourself with the good people. It is the team you build which will make the difference in the success of your project. Sometimes, we think the easiest way to create a start-up is to team up with our best friends, but it is not always efficient. The most important it is to gather people with complementary backgrounds, with different skills, to create the perfect cocktail!

Another key advice is to free up enough time to be able to commit yourself in your project, and therefore increase the chances of success. Of course, it demands other sacrifices, and patience. It was really helpful to take our chance while we did not have a lot of other responsibilities, and to have our families supporting us.

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