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Beyond the Pitch

Capstory: Easily Capturing Images and Video from Weddings and Other Events

chris&des_capstory

The story of Capstory begins when company founders, Dustin Studer and Suprasanna Mishra were students at Ohio State.

“We noticed that when we and our friends had shared experiences, there was no easy way to get our photos and videos in one place for everyone to see,” Studer says, “especially for people who were using digital cameras or flip phones instead of smart phones.”

Studer and Mishra designed and built a prototype based on text-messaging technology.

Tip #1: Founding teams need first hand market experience with real human beings who are potential customers.

“We set out to build a solution that would allow people to put all that content real time into one location without having to download any app, subscribe to any service, or register for anything,” Studer says.

He and Mishra believed that they understood the market—as college students themselves, they lived and breathed it every day. But they tested and refined their assumptions for the next year or so with more than 2000 college students (read potential customers) at college events.

Tip #2: Once you’ve prototyped a solution that solves a real problem for lots of people, segment the market to find customers who can and would be willing to pay.

From college parties, Studer says that the business model naturally progressed into the event space. The $50 billion wedding industry was their first choice.

“We saw that friends and family were taking awesome pictures of the entire wedding journey that ended up trapped on phones and digital cameras,” Studer says. “Capstory became a stress-free way for everyone to capture all parts of their wedding journey from beginning to end.

The process is as simple as taking a photo and sending it in a text to a unique address at Capstory. All the guest-generated images are immediately put in a Capstory capsule and available instantly. Guests can also upload photos from other sources than smart phones.

In the Capstory capsule, the bride and groom gain a collection of the special moments of their wedding events from the diverse perspectives of their family and friends.

Tip #3: Amazing PR doesn’t have to cost millions of bucks or require a specialized agency.

Then the Capstory founders had a brilliant idea. What if they could get Desiree Hartsock, the most recent Bachelorette, to participate in the Capstory launch?

“She has a blog on the wedding industry,” Studer says. “It was just an email address. We made the initial connection there to develop the relationship and offer her tips on how to establish her brand within the industry with her wedding dress designs.”

Studer and Mishra cold pitched Hartsock on the idea of having Capstory produce her engagement party. She loved it, and things went from there.

Capstory is featured on Desiree’s web site and in the People Magazine story about her engagement party.

Studer and Mishra understood their market well enough to recognize the audience connection between brides, the Bachelorette brand, a web site with a focus on weddings, and Capstory’s capabilities.

Tip #4: Make a simple solution simple to buy.

With about two-thirds of all weddings occurring in spring and summer, the season for Capstory is heating up. “We are off to a great start,” Studer says, “getting attention from the press and sales via our website.”

Any customer can sign up for Capstory with a few clicks. For $495, customers receive an all-inclusive package that includes the custom capsule, unlimited collections of photos and videos, guest instruction cards, live slideshow capability, professional image editing, two keepsake photo books, and full customer support.

The bride and groom own the content in their capsule; it’s shared only when and with whom they choose.

Capstory isn’t just for weddings. The company has plans to expand to other types of events. “We’ve already had people contact us about corporate functions,” Studer says. “They see an opportunity to use Capstory instead of, or to compliment, a professional photographer.”

Tip #5: TechColumbus helps connect startups to customers.

If you or someone you know is planning a wedding in the next few months, tell them about Capstory. It’s an easy way to support a Central Ohio startup and a great way to capture memories.

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