Only 12 credits short of graduating from UNLV with a degree in economics, Imagoo CEO Mickey Hernandez is in no hurry to graduate. “On my lunch break I run over to school to take a class and head back over to work for the rest of the day.” The 22 year-old has always wanted to create his own ‘baby,’ and has done just that with photo comparison app Imagoo, which recently raised $1.2 million in angel funding.
Hernandez describes Imagoo as a mix of Hot or Not, Instagram and Mark Zuckerburg’s Facemash. The app allows users to compare two pictures against one another, giving users the ability to vote and solve arguments based on two pictures. Each comparison is given a time limit from 1 hour to 30 days, after which a winner and a loser is chosen based on the percentage of overall votes they receive. Comparisons on the site can include anything that can be captured in a picture, including clothes, pop culture icons, cats, and anything else that people (or businesses) could argue about or compare.
Hernandez and a friend were arguing about the coolness of their respective cars when he searched for an online resolution for similar arguments. After not finding a worthwhile app, Hernandez built one. The idea of comparisons and voting on pictures is nothing new, but an opportunity was discovered by Hernandez to update a popular idea from the past. HotorNot.com once captured the interest of hundreds of thousands of internet users through the simple, yet addictive nature of rating based on a picture. Unlike sites that allow for a vote on a single picture, Imagoo allows for a comparison of two images, which can be chosen from pictures already on the site or uploaded by users.
“We’ve taken an idea that’s 20 years old and brought it up to today’s standards.”
When asked why Imagoo will be successful, Hernandez said, “There isn’t a platform that allows you to compete with your competitors.” The platform is not only used for friendly comparisons, but for brands to get feedback from their target market. Sponsored comparisons are carefully placed within the other ongoing posts on the site in an organic nature. The sponsored posts make up about one out of every hundred image comparisons on the app.
User growth has been trending upwards as Imagoo is seeing 50% more registrations a day than two months ago. The app has been downloaded 20,000 times, and Hernandez expects that number to reach 100,000 in two months.
The first investor meeting turned out to be the only one needed as Hernandez was able to secure $1.2 million from an angel investor in Las Vegas. Asked about the keys to his success securing funding, he said, “Putting together a good pitch-deck, being very diligent on who your team is, what your plans are, what your monetization strategy is going forward, and the biggest key to acquiring funding – hitting it off with your investor.” Following up on how an entrepreneur can hit it off with an investor, I asked Mickey what the best way to impress an investor is.
“Show how invested you are in the product and how much you’ve put in…if you can show that you’re extremely passionate and you’re all in on your product, that gives them the vote of confidence to give you the money to be able to take it to the next level.”
If looking to follow in Hernandez’s shoes, “Get ready to work long days.” “You have to work your butt off to sustain a business of this nature.”
After spending 20 minutes voting on random comparisons, it is clear that Imagoo has captured the addictive nature of comparing and voting on images that HotorNot.com cashed in on a decade and a half ago.
For the full interview with Mickey Hernandez, click play below!
– What is the oddest thing that has been compared on Imagoo so far? Listen to the interview below for the answer, it’s not G rated!
– How the $1.2 million raised in angel funding was used on the company.
– The differences and similarities between Imagoo and HotorNot.com, and whether the comparison to HotorNot.com is a compliment.
What is your favorite part about Las Vegas? Night clubs.
What do you do to relax and have fun during your free time? Hang out with my girlfriend and watch TV (Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Game of Thrones). The Red Wedding episode shocked Mickey more than his girlfriend.
What is your favorite alcoholic drink? Vodka RedBull.
Who is your favorite musician? Pitbull.
What is one thing that you have not accomplished yet that you plan to in the future? Raise a Series A round of funding and to close a deal with a publicly traded company.
If you could add one entrepreneur in the world to your team at Imagoo, who would it be and why? Kevin Systrom. He revolutionized the world with Instagram, and I feel that he would be the biggest asset to our app.
Listen to the full interview here: