If 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