I’m Tomek Młodzki (LinkedIn), one of the founders of the PhotoAiD App. I graduated from a law school at Warsaw University; however, I saw entrepreneurship as a promising career path; the business world spoke to me louder than paragraphs. With my two brothers, I set up a company specializing in photo booths, which evolved into an online biometric photography service in the last two years.
I believe that the impossible is nothing, and our story proves it.
From Photo Booths to AI Services
The goal of work for me is to make meaningful changes. Maybe that’s why I liked our business idea: we had a vision of positive improvement. We wanted to bring to our country a new type of entertainment.
Our business began with photo booths and the desire to share a smile with others. Ten years ago, we realized that the west had much fun with photo booths. They wore funny accessories and played with pictures in malls and parties; they captured memories of happy times forever.
However, Poland had nothing like that. We thought that was an enjoyable idea and wanted to share that entertainment with people in our country. Bringing it here ourselves was the easiest way – so we did it.
In 2012, together with my two brothers, I established a photo booth company called FunFotos. The project looked crazy since we were still university students, but it was a well-thought-out decision.
We invested our savings in the first photo booth, and then, with the money we earned, we bought the next one, the next one, and the next one… From newbies with no experience or network, we soon owned almost 200 photo spots. All were built in our garage.
Our idea prospered, so we decided to expand our business to other countries and search for more opportunities in our country. The next step was to create photo booths for document pictures, such as passports and IDs. Since we developed our own AI algorithm, we gained much technology experience.
Then, we came up with the idea of turning it into an online service. Mobile applications seemed a helpful solution for our customers in the digital age. We started work on that project, but it was still in progress when the infamous March 2020 occurred.
The Birth of the PhotoAid App
Our on-site services were shut down in the wake of the lockdown, which resulted in a 98% drop in revenue overnight. Luckily, we have an ace in the hole: online biometric services. Although our product was underdeveloped, it had the most important feature – a well-working AI algorithm. Consequently, we concentrated all of our efforts on the project’s polish and started with our PhotoAiD app.
PhotoAiD app is an online application you can use on desktop and mobile phones. Firstly, the tool guides you on how to take a good picture of a particular document. Next, you upload the image, and here the AI magic begins. Algorithms check if the photo meets all the requirements, then refine the quality and remove the background. In less than three seconds, the picture is ready. You can either download it or order it for printing and shipping to your home.
Even though our technology is reliable, nothing can replace a human factor. Therefore, double-checking with additional human verification is our proof of unfailing service. Our experts tell the customer when something is wrong and what needs improvement. It results not only in 100% government acceptance but also in excellent customer satisfaction. A sample of customer feedback proves it:
Very useful and easy application. The photo was taken without leaving home and looking for a photographer. If the photo is incorrect the team corrects it so that it is accepted by the Office. Highly recommended. – said Karolina from Poland.
A Time of Crisis – A Time for Help
When launching the pictures generator, we were motivated not only by our drop in sales but also by people’s needs. As I mentioned before, making meaningful changes drives me in business. At a time of crisis, I believed our product could make a real difference. All our previous experience with AI technology, marketing, and project development could be put to good use in the current environment. Our apps provided on-site service experiences when people could not leave your house. Doesn’t it sound like an ideal solution?
Providing the new product was not enough; we also wished to help in other ways. At the beginning of the pandemic, some people had to renew their documents online but could not use professional photography services, so we offered our service for free as a convenience. Subsequently, we ran similar campaigns, such as free photos for student IDs, free pictures for elderlies, or one month of free ID images before the government closed the online application process. Honestly, the fact that our service can make a positive impact feels much more rewarding than any earnings.
The Brotherhood Power
As brothers, we have always believed in the strength of a team. We differ not only in age but also in skills, interests, and work styles. Each of the three brings a unique set of knowledge to the table, as each of us studied different areas, such as law, philosophy, and computer science. But it’s the power of diversity: when we work together, our strengths are maximized. It’s the brotherhood power.
Now, we translate that approach into our employment practices. From the beginning, we believed that even though we had a long road ahead, it would be nice to ride along with good companions. Consequently, we sought out positive, passionate, and just cool people for our team, and I think we did our hiring well since now we work in a company of 80 engaged employees. Due to the popularity of remote work, we could also recruit foreign talents, creating a diverse and multicultural workplace.
In the future, besides expanding our business and product lines, we intend to create a fulfilling work environment. Now that we have gathered those great people in our company, we want to give them the work satisfaction they deserve.
What the Future Will Bring for PhotoAid App
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet is a quote from my mother that guides me through life. Therefore, my plan for the future remains the same: generate ideas, put them into practice, and wait for results. The future is unpredictable, but the approach I learned from my mother has equipped me with everlasting hope because I am always willing to wait patiently for good outcomes.
Obviously, we have some ambitious plans for the future. We aim to expand our service internationally. Right now, we offer a wide range of photo services: from US Passport Photos, through Australian Visa or Green Card, to LinkedIn Profile pictures. Almost any nationality can make use of this tool. Consequently, we are focusing on making ourselves recognizable and taking the market.
But hey, did I mention we have a great crew? It will be a fun trip.
Short bio: Along with his brothers, Tomek founded Poland’s first company dealing with the production and service of photo booths. Currently, the company is making people’s lives easier by developing the world’s largest AI-based online service for taking biometric photos: PhotoAiD App.
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