I am Tomek Młodzki, a serial entrepreneur with over ten years of experience, co-founder of educational services Fiszkoteka.pl & Vocapp.com, currently CEO & Co-founder of PhotoAiD – the biggest international website and mobile app allowing taking biometric photos with smartphones.
Thanks to our PhotoAiD app, people can get biometric photos for their passport, ID, visa, and many others, without leaving their home. Our sophisticated AI-powered technology will check if all the numerous requirements for official document photos are met and make adjustments accordingly. Once it is ready, users can choose the digital or printed version.
Furthermore, we also provide helpful and interesting resources and information on how to do a perfect passport photo, giving our readers tips to avoid the most common mistakes, and answering their questions. The app and all of our resources are translated into various languages in order to address a broader international market.
Originally created only for passport photos, our app now offers additional services, such as photos for LinkedIn, or student cards, to mention just a few. This is our service, and I would like to share our story, from the initial idea, its transformation due to the Pandemic, and our long-term outlook.
Let’s start right at the beginning. I was born in Poland in 1986 and spent my childhood and youth peacefully with my two brothers. We always had a strong bond, both when we were kids and shared our toys and when we grew up and founded the company together.
PhotoAiD’s roots go back to FunFotos company and the photo booths market. It was founded in 2012 by Polish engineers, programmers, and designers, and its principal aim was to take funny photos for parties or other entertaining events.
Tracing the process of this company is like it has made a circular motion. The aim of photo booths is to take pictures for documents; however, we have transformed them into an entertainment tool. Afterward, we go back to the basics of photo booths and adapted them to technological advancement and the current difficult times.
The First Photoaid’s Steps and Its Change Due to the Pandemic
Thanks to funds from venture capital, from the European Regional Development Fund for the Intelligent Development Operational Programme 2014-2020, and an R&D cooperation with universities, we created the PhotoAiD app.
But, why this name? The service we offer focuses on biometric photos that can be taken with a smartphone, meeting all the official requirements thanks to AI technology. Therefore, our app is an “aid” for people who need biometric photos which are generated and edited by AI technology. Hence, we get AiD, which contains both words creating a play on words.
Transforming the business in the online biometric photo service was already in our plans. However, the Pandemic accelerated its launch.
Creating sophisticated software based on advanced technology was certainly not that simple, particularly when you feel the urgency to launch a helpful service, especially at a time like that, when everything is closed, and it is not possible to leave home.
Therefore, just with a smartphone and our app, users can take and upload a photo, and it is converted into a biometric one. Easy, right?
Well, behind the intuitive and easy-to-use app, the algorithms that we created edit the photos according to the numerous list of requirements that maybe users do not even know.
Thus, we created our service to facilitate the procedure of taking a photo for documents, not only during the Pandemic but in other circumstances. For example, think about how difficult it is to take an official photo for a child. Following our tips and using the app make your life easier. The service is also significantly helpful for those who, due to life circumstances, have less mobility and can have a problem going to a photographer or to a photo booth..
Long story short, the Pandemic has made us speed up time, thus making a small contribution to the community by guaranteeing such a service and reducing the possibility of risky contacts. At the same time, however, it has solved problems that existed before, such as photos of children or the most fragile people.
An Ongoing Evolution
The evolution of our company continues. Originally launched for Polish passport and ID card photos, our app offers a much more comprehensive service today.
It offers a service no longer only for those documents but for a long list of documents types. To show you some examples, if you want to visit Japan, you will need a tourist visa and a biometric photo too. Therefore, to avoid your visa application being rejected due to mistakes, you have to be sure that your photo meets all the requirements: photo size, background, head positions, facial expression, glasses, or headcovers, for example.
Well, our app will help you in that process, checking and editing the photo.
Another example can be Resident Permit to France. If you have planned to move to France or desire to stay for longer than three months, it is mandatory to have that permit. Again, on our website, you will find tips and pieces of advice concerning the different permit types, the document required, and, of course, how your photo must be.
Finally, you will even find information for CV and LinkedIn photos. How to write a CV, which layout to use, what to add or to avoid, and how to look professional in your photo.
ACV photo is not always required, while for the LinkedIn profile it is highly recommended.
According to LinkedIn stats, profiles without pictures are viewed less frequently, and 93% of users do not accept invites from people without an image. This demonstrates how having a professional profile photo is relevant and how your chances to be noticed will be higher!
After the First Uncertainties, the Growth, and Outlook for the Future
Besides these integrations in our system, we are also increasing as a company.
Remote working has permitted us to hire people from all over the world, building an increasingly diverse and inclusive workforce.
Thus, we believe in investing in young talents willing to learn and work in a growing industry where we are sector leaders. And I must say that there has been a great return on investment.
Our app has already been downloaded by more than 1.000.000 users, as well as our online visibility is increased thanks to backlinks from valuable websites, such as government and Universities, and influential newspapers.
Obviously, we believe there is room for improvement, yet we have new ideas and strategies in place.
Firstly, we want to refine our technology and service, making it perfect and free of errors, even the tiniest ones. Then, our other priority is to improve our social media presence by sharing amusing content and building a stronger and more engaged social community.
And finally, we want to foster our company culture and enhance employee engagement, even in a virtual work environment.