Lokofoto start-up gets €50,000 funding boost from EI

9 Mar 2012

Daire Irwin and Eddie Johnston, co-founders of Lokofoto.com

New photo website Lokofoto.com, which is aiming to reach out to Ireland’s diaspora, has just received €50,000 in funding from Enterprise Ireland to ramp up its online commercial platform for photographers.

Donegal native, Daire Irwin, 24, and Eddie Johnston, 31, who hails from Dundalk, founded the website. The duo met at Startup Weekend in Dublin last year, where they won the overall ‘best start-up concept’ for their app Exsibit.com.

Energised by the win, Irwin, an artist, and Johnston, a photographer, decided to sign up for the Enterprise Ireland-led Create Ireland programme, where they developed the idea for Lokofoto.

As an online bank of photos, they said the aim of Lokofoto.com is to reach out to expats as well as photographers, who can upload their creative outputs to the site and sell them.

Irwin said that they are especially hoping to reach out to Irish expats, with March being Irish American Heritage Month.

“I’m an artist myself and Eddie is a photographer, so we really wanted to come up with a way that fellow artists could display their work, and make some form of income from it. It’s very difficult for photographers to find the right channel to do this. The funding from Enterprise Ireland, and the leadership from the guys at Create Ireland has been instrumental for us in getting the project up and running,” he said.

Johnston said it was significant that the Enterprise Ireland funding was announced during Irish American Heritage Month.  

“We want to give the 110 Irish people emigrating every day the opportunity to collect a memory of their favourite Irish location so that they can feel connected to Ireland wherever they are,” he said.

Crowdsourcing curation model

So here’s a little more about how Irwin’s and Johnson’s model works. Lokofoto.com invites photographers to upload images of locations to the website. These images are then voted on by the online community. Once the image receives enough votes, it then goes live on the website where it can be purchased by members of the public.

Irwin said the crowdsourcing curation model has proved very effective in gauging the quality of a photo. “In 2012, we are hoping to have images from every location in the world,” he added.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic