Catching up with ShootMyTravel: Growing, crowdfunding – and soon to be Angle

‘Although the world stopped, we had to keep going’ – Valerie Lopez, founder of ShootMyTravel

Valerie Lopez always had a broader mission in mind for her startup, ShootMyTravel, but the pandemic  brought the need into sharp focus.

ShootMyTravel, the on-demand travel photography startup, is rebranding. Its new name will be Angle to better reflect its goal to be the go-to resource for all photographic needs, and the B2C company is expanding into the B2B space for the first time. The company is also crowdfunding on SeedInvest, at a time when revenge travel is top of mind for many. For all these reasons, it’s a good time to catch up with this Miami-born, woman-led startup.

“Our goal is to be a one stop shop provider for all things photography, in the B2C and B2B market,” said Lopez, co-founder and CEO of the startup that made its name in creative travel photography in hundreds of cities worldwide. “It’s always been our goal as a company.”

Valerie Lopez

For instance, a hotel with locations around the world that needs updated photos can use Lopez’s startup because ShootMyTravel already has a global network of 950 photographers and its growing. The startup plans to launch a subscription service for businesses that will ensure them on-demand service for their photo needs all year long.

To be sure, the pandemic crisis was a wakeup call that a wider focus was a priority, said Lopez. “There was no stopping. Although the world stopped, we had to keep going.”

During the pandemic, while demand for travel photography slowed considerably, ShootMyTravel was fielding inquiries from restaurants that needed to create or update their UberEats presences, from brick and mortar retailers that were going online or expanding their offerings there, and even from hotels that hadn’t updated their photos for years and wanted to refresh their photos in anticipation of the revenge travel surge.

The startup also did a lot of pandemic-time “weddings” – small affairs, sometimes just the couple themselves. Early on, virtual photo shoots were huge too, Lopez said.  “Nobody thought that would work but it was very successful.”

During the pandemic slowdown, the team took more time to talk to its users – both photographers and customers. “It was eye opening to see that the need was more important than ever. It was also an opportunity for us to have the time to actually think about the strategy and do it correctly.”

For the first time, ShootMyTravel – soon to be renamed Angle – is raising money via equity crowdfunding, in a SeedInvest campaign. “We wanted to offer retail investors the opportunity to be part of the company.”

Today, the startup has 950 photographers in 450 cities worldwide on its platform and another 1,500 on the waiting list,  said Lopez. The marketplace has completed 7,500 shoots since inception, and bookings rose 150% year over year through 2019. “Our revenue and bookings were consistently growing until the pandemic severely restricted travel in 2020. However, we still achieved meaningful bookings in 2020, and we believe our activity will continue to pick up and grow in 2021 and beyond,” the company said in its crowdfunding campaign. As Angle, the startup will service the photographic needs of travelers, events of all sizes and businesses.

On SeedInvest, Shootmytravel has already raised more than $237,000 toward its fund-raising goal, which is a cool million. Lopez has been in the million-dollar club before.  Her seed raise of $1.1 million, a round that included Jason Calacanis, in 2019 made her one of the first 50 or 60 Latinas – anywhere –  to raise over $1 million. In total the startup has raised $1.4 million, according to Crunchbase.

Still, getting prospective and existing investors onboard with the rebranding was a challenge, since people already knew and loved the ShootMyTravel name, Lopez said. “We love it too, but it’s time to do the big jump.”

Photo at the top of the post: Valerie Lopez, ShootMyTravel CEO of ShootMyTravel, with Camilo Rojas, Chief Product and Creative Director, and Andres Echeverry, COO. Photos provided by ShootMyTravel, soon to be Angle.

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Nancy Dahlberg