Today’s Featured BizSpark Startup is Pickit.com from Sweden.
Taking cool pictures with your phone again? Mathias Bjorkholm and Karl Karlsson want them. They launched Pickit in 2012 from the idea that the world needed an ecosystem to connect the billions of people in need of photos to the billions of people with cameras.
“Photos have no language barriers,” says Bjorkholm. “Great imagery should be shared! It should be used – and it should be rewarded.”
From that simple premise, Pickit was born. It’s a very easy and powerful tool that both corporations and individuals can use to obtain legally cleared photos. Karlsson describes it as a comprehensive, global photography marketplace that uses crowdsourcing, image banks and professional photographers to ferret out the perfect picture for the right buyer.
Early on, the BizSpark startup became a photograph supplier for individuals and for PowerPoint, office presentation software offered by Microsoft and used by millions. Now, the startup is now going cross-platform with offerings for iOS and Android devices. The addition of additional platforms is only adding to Pickit’s popularity – and its need for a cloud technology that can scale upward with it.
Cloud technology, say the founders, is the key to Pickit’s success. But not just any cloud technology: Only Microsoft Azure can provide the critical thinking power and scalability Pickit needs for its continued, explosive growth.
The startup’s founders discovered Azure’s open and flexible capabilities in 2013 when its original cloud services provider wasn’t able to keep up with demand. It also didn’t offer the powerful, cloud-based predictive analytics Pickit needed to expand. As a result, the company made the move from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Microsoft Azure. The transfer was a wise one, say both founders.
“Azure is an amazing platform that has allowed us to grow seamlessly and become a truly global company in less than a year’s time,” says Karlsson. “It has been critical to our company’s recent success – and for our future.”
From a technical standpoint, the company’s infrastructure is now based on Django and Python open source software packages (OSS) on Microsoft Azure. The combination gives Pickit tools such as Machine Learning, vital to its future business plan.
“One cool thing that is coming up really soon, for example, is that when you’re creating a PowerPoint presentation, you will be able to type ‘life is like a roller coaster’ and we will be able to match that to our database of photos,” explains Bjorkholm. “Because of the advanced machine learning we can access through Azure, we can suggest the right photo before you even know you want that kind of photo.”
You won’t just get stock photos of roller coasters from Pickit, says Bjorkholm. You’ll also receive unique photos of how it feels to ride a roller coaster life. Because of Azure’s machine learning capabilities, Pickit can think for you – almost as quickly as you can form a thought.
The global community is a powerful tool to leverage, he adds. The right cloud technology can help any startup manage that tool to its advantage.
Microsoft is helping these startups succeed through its BizSpark program. To join or see other startup stories, visit us at our website here. To listen to our startups, check out these podcasts on devradio here.
About BizSpark: Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps startups succeed by giving free access to Microsoft Azure cloud services, software and support. BizSpark members receive up to $750 per month of free Microsoft Azure cloud services for 3 years: that’s $150 per month each for up to 5 developers. Azure works with Linux and open-source technologies such as Linux, Ruby, Python, Java and PHP. BizSpark is available to startups that are privately held, less than 5-years-old and earn less than $1M in annual revenue.