UPGRD

The worlds first mass photography software that automates designs.

HQ: Espoo, Finland

Founded: Q2/2018

Invested in: Q1/2018

Founders: Kari Vähäkangas, Alex Günsberg, Matti Rajala, Teemu Lahti

Keywords: SaaS, marketing, design

Website: upgrdphotos.com

Design magic fully automatized

Except for an ill-advised laser background phase in the 1980s (in the US, at least), school photos have changed very little since their introduction. In a world where nearly everyone carries a decent camera in their pocket and can add filters, frames, text and other accents to photos with the click of a few buttons, it’s a wonder that school and sports photography hasn’t evolved too.

UPGRD, a Finnish startup with a mission to revolutionize the youth and sports mass photography markets, aims to challenge the ordinary and create an unforgettable photo experience for families. UPGRD’s photos go beyond the typical boring photos and let customers choose fun design combinations such as background, frames, logos or icons, and much more that truly capture the spirit of the photo.

Their platform also enables photographers to run a hassle free and most of all, very profitable photography business! By creating amazing designs, UPGRD also creates new attraction and amazing sales. Survey showed that nearly 90% of kids and families wanted to buy design photos beside normal photos. In business, this means bigger shopping cart sizes and annual sales revenue. 

. The photographer platform features multiple, pardon the pun, upgrades with:

  • UPGRD Magic Box: completely automates design generation

  • UPGRD Store: enhances the sales process

  • UPGRD AI: reduces the need for manual labor

  • UPGRD Photographer App: eliminates the need for printing paper QR codes

The business ideas behind UPGRD came from co-founder Kari Vähäkangas’ experience seeing his kids’ school pictures and realizing the format hadn’t changed in 30 years, even as photography has digitalized, the world of tech has evolved - design and individualism means more to kids and families. While Vähäkangas has an extensive advertising background, serving as a creative director and designer to youth marketing brands for 15 years, he tapped Matti Rajala, an expert photographer to be co-founder and COO. Rounding out the experienced team are Teemu Lahti, Chief Technology Officer, and Alex Günsberg, Head of Business Development.

UPGRD plans to use venture capital funding to continue developing their software, add developer talent and focus on building market share in schools, kindergartens, and sports organizations' photo shoots around the world.

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