Roamz and ImageBrief make BRW start-ups ranking

Two companies in the media and marketing space have featured in BRW’s table of Australia’s top ten start-ups of 2011.

Salmat Digital-backed location based mobile service Roamz tops the lot. In 7th was ImageBrief, which is taking on Getty Images and Corbis in the image procurement space.

The Roamz and ImageBrief entries read as follows:

 1. Roamz

Notable achievement: Winning support of a major listed company in a hotly contested market.

Apps are everywhere. The smart phone has proven to be one of the most influential developments of recent decades and there is no shortage of entrepreneurs trying to capitalise on the business opportunities it creates. Standing out in a crowded field of app developers is Jonathon Barouch. He is the founder and chief executive of Roamz, an app which draws together social media content to allow people to find local events and opportunities that interest them.

Since its launch in October last year, Roamz has had more than 50,000 downloads. Barouch began planning Roamz in 2010 after selling another business, He says running a florist made him realise how difficult it was to market products to people who are both nearby and fit a specific demographic profile. “It’s the holy grail of marketing,” he says.

7. ImageBrief

Notable achievement: Provide a legitimate rival to an established duopoly.

Simon Moss had been running a niche stock library with his wife Meg for five years. Photos had to be comprehensively tagged with keywords so clients could search through the archive. The problem is a photo taken in 1950 would need to be tagged as 1950, 50s, 50’s and so on, Moss says. “It’s impossible to capture all of the different things people might be searching for.”

Moss came across web-based crowdsourcing businesses like 99designs, where users can post graphic design briefs and freelancers pitch for the work. “We thought, ‘My God! This is insanely amazing. Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this with photography’,” he remembers. The two industry leaders for stock image libraries are Getty and Corbis. “We saw a lot of photographers with a tonne of content that couldn’t be found and a lot of buyers that were struggling to search and navigate,” he says.

Using ImageBrief, customers, which so far include publishers and advertising agencies, post a brief for the type of image they need and their deadline and budget. If photographers have images that fit the brief, they upload them to the website. “If a buyer finds an image they love, they can download it and pay by PayPal or credit card,” Moss says.

Over four thousand photographers have signed up to the website. ImageBrief raised $600,000 from a syndicate of unnamed angel investors, who have strong links to the media industry, after pitching at an Innovation Bay dinner in 2011. With the capital, Moss will open offices in New York and London within the next three months.

These companies have already attracted senior talent from media and advertising companies. WeAreSocial founder Heather Ann Snodgrass joined Roamz in September, and Lowe Australia boss Stephen Pearson joined ImageBrief in November.


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