CHICAGO — Three former Division I college runners have developed an app they say will make obtaining photos from races easier and cheaper.
Griffin Kelly and Nate Robinson, both Northwestern graduates, and Declan Murray, a Loyola University Chicago alumnus, have created the startup Flashframe.io app, which they'll debut Oct. 9 at the Chicago Marathon.
It allows anyone with a camera or smartphone to take photos during sanctioned races, download the pictures and take a cut of each photo that someone buys. The software instantly recognizes racers' bib numbers, so those wanting to buy the photos simply type in their number to find relevant pics.
Each photo sells for $6.99, with the photographer earning $5, the company getting $1.50 and credit card companies taking the rest. That's cheaper than many official race photos. For example: a single image download from last year's Chicago Marathon official photography company, MarathonFoto, is $29.95, while three photos can be downloaded for $44.95.
"Everyone wants a photo, and when it's a price point you can afford, you won't even think twice about it," said Kelly, a Jones College Prep graduate and Lincoln Park resident. "And if you take photos, you can make $100 just by walking out your door and snapping a bunch of photos."
Kelly hatched the idea because he wanted the chance to buy more pictures from small college cross-country races. He teamed up with Robinson, and the pair decided to expand their horizons to all possible races.
"It's been a whirlwind of a couple months working on this platform," said Robinson, 22, of Ravenswood. "I'm excited to see it play out in Chicago. I think it's got a lot of potential, and I hope people enjoy it as much as I do."
Murray, 25, who once finished third in the NCAA championship's 800-meter run, joined the company after failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Murray, who now lives in Streeterville, said the trio is pumped for the Chicago Marathon-based launch because "we're all from Chicago."
Kelly said that the app already has 1,000 people signed up to use it, most of whom live in Chicago.
Kelly said the company rented advertisements on 12 bus shelter stations at several spots along the Chicago Marathon course.
"We wanted to make sure the runners saw them," he said.
To download the Flashframe.io app, click here.
One of 12 Flashframe.io advertisements at bus shelters along the Chicago Marathon route. [Griffin Kelly]
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