Having to awkwardly ask a stranger to take a photo of you while on vacation is never on someone’s bucket list. What’s worse is taking a selfie and missing the beautiful monument behind you. Or even more dreadful — a member of your group isn’t in the photo because they have to take the photo.
Luckily, you no longer have to go through the pain of missing out on your favorite vacation spot — Look@’s selfie sculpture will do it for you.
Josh Barker, CEO of City Innovations, sat down with Luka Vukovic, Founder of Look@, to discuss how the company started, how they tested their product, a look forward to what’s next for the company, and more.
Click here to listen to the podcast or keep scrolling to read the podcast recap.
How It Started
When out for a walk in his hometown, Vukovic saw some tourists struggling to get the perfect selfie in front of a city attraction. That got him thinking, “There’s got to be a better way for people in the 21st century to get a picture in front of an attraction when traveling.”
Reflecting on a similar issue while on their honeymoon in Paris — Vukovic and his wife didn’t get a single decent picture of the two of them together. This was an issue that needed to be solved. People deserve to remember their experiences and travels.
“More than 300 people accidentally kill themselves every year while trying to take a selfie. People are willing to die for a like on social media or for a perfect picture,” said Vukovic.
That’s when he started to craft the ideate a safer, easier way for people to take beautiful photos in front of popular monuments or special tourist destinations.
After extensive research, he couldn’t find anything in the market similar to the problem he was trying to solve, eventually leading him to create a kiosk with an attached camera ready to get the perfect photo.
With a background in mechanical engineering, Vukovic hired an electrical engineering partner, eventually becoming his Co-Founder, that designed all the electrical components, the camera, and the solar system of the kiosk.
Together they came up with a proof of concept and started to sell the product before it was even done. They installed the first seven units in Croatia and Europe.
Lessons Learned While Testing Their Product
Being a lean startup, Look@ wanted to completely understand every facet of the market reacted to their product.
“One time, I just sat in a coffee shop next to one of our columns and I just watched the people going by the whole day. 80% of the people didn’t even realize [our kiosk] was there because they mistook it for something else,” explained Vukovic.
Vukovic learned people encounter problems downloading the mobile app to use the product, the process was a hassle. They improved this by switching to a web app and connecting over wifi. By doing this, they found that consumers can quickly preview their pictures on their mobile phones, snap a photo, and move forward.
Developing a Business Model that Works
Look@ has two different models. Selling their kiosks and in-app purchases.
“We sell [kiosks] to our customers which are city municipalities, tourist boards, tourist offices, but also hotels, stadiums, and kids’ parks. By buying a [kiosks], they are getting also the whole backend platform behind it, supporting it. And of course, our web app, which people use to take pictures,” outlines Vukovic.
The tourist locations can then keep half of the in-app purchase profits to make a return on their investment of purchasing Look@.
“Where we don’t sell [kiosks] to a city, we install them with their permission. In that case, we don’t split the purchase profits with them, but we keep it to ourselves,” explains Vukovic.
Through in-app purchases, customers can buy postcards to send, or a special augmented reality photo of themselves. Some photos that customers take within the kiosk are free, but they can also pay for a different variety of photos. Look@ also sells advertising space inside the app.
Adding in Augmenting Reality
Aside from helping people take pictures on vacation, Look@ continues to iterate its product by adding new features that its customers have requested. One, in particular, is augmented reality. These are pictures you cannot take on a regular mobile phone.
For example, on one of their kiosks, when you take a photo it looks like dragons are flying overhead. By adding dragons to the photo “the number of people to take the picture jumped from 10% to 40%,” said Vukovic.
And it’s not just fantastical creatures. Look@ discovered a way to capture their audience by adding historical figures, celebrities, and sports icons to their images. “For example in Chicago, we could put one of our sculptures in front of the Chicago Bulls arena and people could take a picture with Michael Jordan,” Vukovic explained.
Looking ahead, Look@ has goals to scale its business. “We want to scale outside Croatia. We’ve already signed a contract with a German distributor, so we are exploring German territory. And also we have a partner in Dubai,” explained Vukovic.
Look@ plans to film a product video to make people aware of the product. From marketing so far they have been able to raise the number of people using the product from 10 to 50% in one area.
Want to learn more about the success of Look@’s venture? Click here to listen to the full podcast.
This podcast was originally recorded in July 2020.