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How I got to the top: Aidan Christofferson, co-founder, Flashy

Dubai-based tech photography startup: Flashy co-founder Aidan Christofferson (centre right) with business partner Jacopo Trinca (centre left) and the team

What does your company do?

We are a 10 month old startup tech company, based in Dubai, which provides a platform for scalable photography solutions for GCC customers.

Whether you’re a sole entrepreneur looking to capture images for your product, or a multinational enterprise looking for thousands of images a week, our platform takes care of the process, from vetted photographers through to delivery of the final edit. 

We’ve gained traction within the real estate and hospitality sectors across the GCC who require multiple shoots and volume to showcase properties and menus.

What inspired you to develop your idea?

My girlfriend runs an activewear brand called Pama London. When organising a lookbook shoot in Dubai, I saw firsthand how difficult the process was. Finding the photographer, scheduling a time and aligning on price was just the start. Executing the photoshoot, and waiting weeks for the edited images were continued challenges. I saw that there was a huge opportunity in modernising this industry, allowing content creation to be tackled at scale, with a quality and speed that meets the latest market demands

How have your priorities changed from when you first started?

In the early days, we wanted to create a B2C business. After many conversations, we realised that there was a massive demand within the B2B sector, and that businesses large and small were all wanting better service: photography and content creation to market their brands, created and delivered in a way that matches the quality, scale and speed required.

What do you look for when hiring talent?

The ability to translate good ideas into action.

What counts more: luck or hard work?

Unfortunately, both are critical, but they aren’t mutually exclusive. Hard work maximises your chances to get presented with lucky opportunities.

What was your biggest ‘lucky’ moment?

I feel remarkably lucky to have our team. It takes a huge leap of faith to jump into the unknown and join two co-founders at an early stage startup. We’re truly lucky to have 10 other members of staff who passionately believe in the mission and who have accompanied us on this journey.

What one thing do you wish you’d done differently?

I started in entrepreneurship after a seven year stint as a commodity trader – I wish I started sooner.

If you could rule the world for a day, what three things would you change?

My term limit. If given 10 years I could change more than three things…

What’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever done?

Conquering a fear of heights to get my helicopter private pilot’s licence.

What three factors do entrepreneurs misjudge about the Gulf market?

It’s not a vacuum. Mena is now regarded by international companies as a critical target market with a highly digitised consumer, and you will have competition from abroad.

Your consumer will now be sophisticated, with a good understanding of the global marketplace, and alternate service providers.

It takes time. We are used to reading about startups raising multimillion dollar rounds months after conception. In reality, the success of most businesses will require years of grit, determination and hustle.

Dream mentor?

I feel like Larry Ellison [Oracle founder] would be fun to spend time with. He could share his tech and business learnings and I might get a trip to his Hawaiian island to hear it!