March 09, 2020 / entrepreneurs

Making every image high-resolution with Olivier Hamel of Prodibi

Hi Olivier, excited to have you here! Please tell us who you are and what you do.

Hi, I am Olivier, the co-founder of the company based in Switzerland! Prodibi is a startup that I created with my brother Fred with the ambitious goal to change the way we consume images online.

It is simple: the way we display images online doesn’t make any sense anymore. We are photographers ourselves, and we were frustrated to degrade our photos to show them online. We decided to rebuild the image workflow and the online visual experience entirely.

The result? A next-generation image platform as a service that lets you display and share your images in full resolution on the web and mobile with extra security. We provide you with the best quality and speed for any image of any size on any device. It only takes 1-click to have perfect images in full quality on your website.

What went into building Prodibi?

We learned a lot through trial and error, and we are still learning! From our business model to the technology we use for both front and back ends, we did a lot of pivoting. For instance, we started by targeting photographers as a whole before pivoting to selling our APIs to corporate clients, but we then went back to photographers when we could not reach the growth targets we were looking for.

We now talk to professional photographers mainly and it has worked well for us. We can still serve B2B and B2C clients efficiently, but the focus of the company is now more precise, which helps a lot when developing our roadmap.

From a technical standpoint, it is an ongoing process. We are currently working on our encoder to make it faster and less resource-hungry; this will be key to the success of our upcoming mobile apps. We also need to revamp our whole admin side, but it is something we need to plan appropriately as the room for mistakes is super thin here.

What part are you proudest of?

It is like a newborn, every new step you take and every goal you reach makes you super proud.

I fondly remember the first positive feedback, the first beta tester, the first paying client, the first round of funding, etc. But I must say that the first paying client from outside our network was something special. To have someone you have never talked to, willing to pay for your service is excellent! Overall, when people are happy to use your solution and encourage you to continue, it is a great feeling.

How did you grow the company, what were the hardest challenges?

It has been done very organically, we haven’t spent much on marketing. Our relative advantage is that photographers are well identified and easy to target both online and offline. So going to related events, talking to them online on social networks and discussion boards have always brought some levels of growth to Prodibi. But the truth is, I don’t have any exponential formula, perseverance and commitment have always been key for us. Listen to your customers, monetize as soon as possible and find good mentors from your industry.

More recently, we have had a lot of success by creating plugins for our solution to embed it within existing services. We now have plugins for WordPress, Lightroom, and Capture One which bring new users daily, and it goes well with our overall vision to provide a better image workflow to photographers by helping them “connect” their tools. Always in full-resolution.

On the one hand, traditional camera manufacturers are struggling, they somewhat missed the software shift and they haven’t figured out yet how to compete against new usages such as smartphone photos or live streaming. Why is that?

On the other hand, AI is profoundly transforming the industry and I believe the trend will even accentuate in the future considering the budgets spent in R&D in this space. I am expecting that being a photographer in 2030 will be very different from 2020 because of that.

I love this ever-evolving industry that mixes old and new players; it is fascinating to follow but brutal for many companies.

What is like working at Prodibi? How are decisions made?

We are a micro team of 2, so decisions and processes are rather simple, Fred is taking care of the technical aspects and I focus on business and marketing.

The main difficulty is on focusing our small resources where we can have the most impact, so some of our time is spent on understanding which features to develop or kill. We have a quite clear roadmap, but we always need to be efficient because even with short development cycles, a mistake can cost us a lot.

How did you come with your company name?

It doesn’t mean anything! It is the “pro” version of Fred’s artist name “Padibi” that we put together to form Prodibi. We noticed that Prodibi was available on all domain names and social networks, it was enough for us to pick that option. I am a believer that the meaning of the name of a company doesn’t matter as long as it is short, somewhat memorable, and it’s available online.


Display, embed, share and transfer your photos on Prodibi