This week we speak with Marius Stanciu about his new online image editor, Picozu, that he developed from scratch. He tells us the challenges of moving his product on from the beta stage and his hopes for the future.
How would you describe what Picozu does?
How did you come up with the idea?
I was playing with HTML5 and discovered its amazing features such as graphic capabilities through canvas, offline storage and web workers, and I thought building an application with them will be a great idea. One of my friends embraced the idea and decided to help. We’ve put our heads together and come up with a front-end for the edited images. After a week of planning we had a pretty solid idea of what we were about to make by adding social features and an image browser to the already developed editor.
Well about two months ago we had just an idea, now it’s materialized into a website and an editor. We’ve opted for the ‘just start the work and share it to the world at fast as possible’ way to do it. We realize that there is yet plenty of work to be done, but we’re not afraid of criticism, we actually love it when someone takes the time to write to us, and we can assure them that every line they write is taken into consideration. The feedback we received from our users during those two weeks of beta testing was very positive.
What’s been the most difficult aspect of setting up the company?
Every aspect of a start-up has challenges: getting started, convincing myself and my friends that this is a good opportunity, the development period and having to find an equilibrium between various features I could add to the editor and the short amount of time I had to get it done. Now it’s time for the beta test period, when we need to solve various problems and bugs on a daily basis, as soon as they get reported. We’re not afraid of the new and we enjoy every step we make.
What applications or tools do you find most useful for your business? Why?
Being a developer has some advantages, I have created most of the tools and applications, so for me the most useful tool is my IDE, I could not work without Oracle NetBeans . We’re using internally-developed applications for issue tracking, project management, newsletter system, content management and so on.
How are you different to your main competitors?
Most of the other web based online editor technologies are based on Adobe Flash but we decided not to use it and go for a pure HTML5 implementation that would keep the door open for mobile users (phone, tablets, graphic pads, etc). That was a bold step because there is a wide range of problems we need to surpass to make this feasible. I will not get into technical details but those who know programming would know the challenges of working with canvas.
What has been your biggest success?
Our biggest success would be getting out of the beta. We’re not there yet but we’re pretty confident that once we complete our current project milestone Picozu can be considered stable. Other than that we can call a success the positive feedback and the amount of visitors we received so far. It motivates us to continue our work and improve our application.
How have you funded your start-up and how hard was it to get financial backing?
For the current time we’re self-funded but we do hope that as Picozu becomes more popular we’ll get some of the big players in the market to see it as a major opportunity and invest.
What piece of advice would you give to someone setting up their own startup?
I’d advise them to stop planning and dreaming and get the thing done. There are so many great, wonderful, creative startup ideas out there and the internet has enough space for every single one of them. If you have the skills or the money to do it, do not hesitate, even if you don’t succeed to make your idea a killer startup, it will be a great ride, you will gain experience and friends and it will boost your creativity and challenge your mind.