Time to recharge before launch

lTo act like some sagely old mentor I could suggest that I am going away for 2 weeks now on holidays, as I find it best for young startups to take a break before they scurry down the route to fame or failure. It recharges them, helps them focus, and gives them lots of time with their family, before they marry their business co-founders and embark on the startup joyride.

In actual fact, no. This was book a long time ago, before any Closr plans were made and to be honest, I’m fairly worried about heading away so close to launch. There is so much to do…

But, I’ll take it as an opportuinity to chill, focus and plan. I’ll take a few things along to help me with that.

Incidentally, all the talk this week about trips and broken camera’s in “the Story of Closr”  has me very worried… yes I am going back to Lanzarote again, hope my camera will be safe :)

The Story of Closr

169444840_01e75a6388_qIf you have watched the cartoon / explainer video of Closr you will see there is a section where Rob’s camera broke twice and this made him think about setting up such an app. In actual fact this is only part of the story. Rob has always loved photography. The first camera he bought was when he was 7, he bought it with his communion money. Unfortunately that camera broke a few years later and it never got replaced. What also happened was when he was 14 his parents moved to the middle east leaving himself and his sister in Ireland. Yep, you guessed it, for the next few years there was no one to take any pictures of him or his sister. They were both into sports and at every sports event parents of other kids were taking photos of other kids. Back then in the mid 90’s Rob mused, “we are in all their photo albums, wouldn’t it be great to have access to them…”

Years passed, Rob went to college, got married and got back into photography when his first child was on the way. When she was three he finally moved to a digital camera. Yet the fact remains, there is almost 10 years of Rob’s life missing in terms of photography, but he is in hundreds of other families albums. The seed was sowed but it wasn’t until another 10 years passed that it would all come together with those holidays.

In 2007 Rob went to holidays to Lanzarote. He brought his pride and joy,  a Cannon 400d DSLR, less than a year old, camera with him. Mid way through the holiday he was having an old snorkel, as you do, and when he came out he tried to take a picture with his camera but it wouldn’t focus. That evening his wife finally admitted that their 4 year old was playing with it on the beach. The rest of that holiday they have no photo’s at all.

In 2012 Rob returned to Lanzarote for the first time with his trusty 400d and this time a smart phone (HP Pre3). Again as luck would have it, while he was swimming in the pool, something happened. He got out and went back to the room and tried to check his photos from the day, but his camera wouldn’t work. It must have somehow gotten wet his wife told him…. hmmmm… But not to worry, his smartphone had a camera so at least records were able to be recorded, but the quality was not the best.

Over Christmas of 2012 Rob started to think about this, and found that people were taking more and more family photo’s all on their smartphones, this in itself is not surprising, but what was surprising is that his parents and grandparents were doing the same but they were not on any social media sites and yet wanted to share and collaborate. Going out to a winter wonderland with his extended family we took pictures of the same things other parents were taking pictures off. The seed sown all those years ago began to grow!

A few ideas were worked on over the next few months and the idea slowly grow without any forgetful focus. During the year Rob would make two pivots to form Closr as it stands today. Later in the summer he would approach a mentor and start to get a better idea of the potential of the business. Over winter 2013/2014 27 iterations of the software were created and tested with users until we found an alpha version he was happy with. It wasn’t the end product but a really good MVP.

In 2014 Rob started to think long and hard about “what if?” Basically, what if the business worked, where would it be based, who would work there. At this stage, he decided Closr should stay in Cork City, in Ireland. Being a proud Cork and Irish man this was a great feeling, but beyond that Rob believes that Cork and Ireland has everything in place to make it happen. He just needs other people to believe that too. More importantly, his family is here, and he wants the next generation of his family to be here also, so decided beyond personal aspirations for Closr, he was going to work to create a future for Cork too.

Armed with this conviction he set about making plans and this is where we are now. Plan made, advisers found, co-founder found, beta product almost completed, launch partners secured (more later), new hires for 2015 met and vetted. We are ready to go.

Its time to #getClosr

Suppose we have to welcome Rob too…

I guess if we introduced Andrerobw we have to introduce Rob Deegan aswell. Rob has a long story which we might go into later but the short version is this. He found he wasn’t cut out for college when he went there in 1997 and dropped out. He then found his options limited so in 1999 he started back to college part time. He got a BSc in computing, MSc in Mobile Usability and is currently a PhD student in Machine Learning at the CIT Sigma Research Center. He has several publications and awards as part of his research over the last few years. Study was part time and so he worked full time throughout. He also launched a few startups e.g. Band rehearsal rooms in 2001, Drop-D music magazine in 2003 and D-tour Web consultancy in 2006. He gave up the startup life to go back to do the MSc to understand how people interact with technology and how Mobile devices were going to explode. Supplementary to all this, he got married, had kids moved house a few times, oh and represented, and captained, Ireland several times internationally at Kendo. Check him out here https://www.linkedin.com/in/robindeegan

Closr welcome Andrew as our Co-Founder

andrewClosr wants to give Andrew Hobbs a huge welcome as he joins the team, which now becomes a true team of two! Andrew has a huge background in Enterprise Mobile development for the likes of www.sky.com/ and www.EMC.com , as well as experience working with startups such as http://soundwave.com/ on their android app. He has also an entrepreneurial background and has in the past been part of UCC’s Ignite program and EI’s New frontiers program. Check out his Linkedin here https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewcjhobbs Welcome to the party :)

Website re-design


Our site was looking a little faded, so I figured with all the Closr activity going on perhaps I could have a look at the site!

I checked out whats “fresh” in terms of design and UX and decided to apply a semi Parallax design.

This is also a responsive design and incorporated my favourite… the hamburger menu :)

Got some beautiful pictures from some great photographers from iStock too.

I only made a rough start at it today but over the next few days it should come along nicely. I’ll then start looking at content and maybe talk a little about our ‘story’.