As businesses of all sizes, from small to large enterprises, continue to take a hit from COVID-19 pandemic, some entrepreneurs have begun to adjust their models to survive the difficult moment and tap new opportunities.
Among these entrepreneurs is Steven Nwadike, co-founder, Peexoo Technologies, who is on a mission to change the African narrative through photography. He is eyeing a chunk from the $110.8 billion photography market.
Nwadike has adopted the Peexoo Lookalike strategy to survive the difficult moment of the pandemic despite operating in an industry that is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic outbreak.
“The pandemic put us on our toes to start thinking of other ways we can generate revenue as a company, engage our users, and churn out great contents to photographers on our platform,” he says.
“We launched some cool features like Peexoo lookalike -a facial recognition web app that enables you to find your famous African celebrity lookalike,” he explains.
The strategy made a success as lots of Nigerians who were bored during the initial lockdown visited the website and participated in the Peexoo lookalike initiative.
“We had no idea that Peexoo Lookalike would spread like wildfire because within a week we gained 12,000 users,” he says.
Similarly, Nwadike launched the Peexoo Learn which was dedicated solely for online courses for photography and targeted at amateur and professionals in the industry looking at redefining their skills.
The business is generating revenue from the newly adopted strategy and has been successfully paying its 10 employees their wages when other similar businesses operating in the same industry are struggling to survive or shutting down.
Established in 2018, Peexoo Technology is a SAAS and online photography marketplace powered by Artificial Intelligence to provide impactful images of the African continent and opportunities for other photographers on the continent to thrive.
The computer scientist, who started his entrepreneurship journey while an undergraduate in university, was inspired by the ‘Entrepreneur Creed’ by Thomas Paine and is now building a platform that showcases beautiful imagery of the continent.
“My dream is to empower the creativity of black men brave enough to lift a camera while declaring to the world that Peexoo is the gateway to changing the perception of how the outside world sees Africa,” he says.
“Photographers can single-handedly change the Africa perception but first, they need to change their mentality and start thinking as revolutionaries using just the power of images,” he adds.
The young entrepreneur says the business plans to expand to 10 major cities in the country and five across the West African region in the short run.
Also, the business plans to raise more funds to onboard 5,000 professional photographers before the end of 2020.
It also wants to invest in research and development of AI to create new and unique services – to achieve this. It is currently seeking partnerships and collaborations.
Evaluating the photography industry in the country and Africa at large, he says the sector is an untapped goldmine. He adds that this offers Peexoo Technology the opportunity to have the first-mover advantage in the photography business in Africa.
According to him, the global photography market size is valued at $110.8 billion, with Africa raking only 10 percent ($11billion) of the total value annually.
He states that Lagos – the country’s commercial center— has over 20,000 registered professional photographers.
“There is still a need for photographers to be respected because not only do they create memories, they are priests at the altar of perception,” he says.
“Hollywood or Nollywood cannot be what it is today without still and motion photographers who have been able to alter and shape reality to their liking in the content they produce,” he further says.
He urges the government to leverage the Peexoo platform as a gateway to reach out to the creative industry while also empowering players in the industry who are mostly youths.
On his advice to other entrepreneurs, he says, “Stay hungry, execute tactically, focus on the big picture even if no one else sees it, and never be afraid to take risks.