Case Study

Disruptive VC-backed ‘Uber for Photographers’ Turns to Adeva for Engineering Support – Now Poised for Internationalisation and a Series A Funding Round

Founded in 2015, Perfocal is a VC-backed, UK-based online marketplace that is disrupting the photography space. The company has built an on-demand Photography-as-a-Service platform that connects professional photographers to demand, making both hiring and working as a freelance photographer easier than ever before.

We needed an engineer with CTO potential, who could lead remote engineering teams professionally and confidently. Adeva matched us with someone that really wanted to own the product and drive the vision.

CHALLENGES

Perfocal built a functional platform that satisfied pain points for its customers, but they needed improvements to scale internationally and support expansion into the B2B space.

SOLUTION

Perfocal worked with Adeva to find a Lead Javascript Engineer with CTO potential; someone who had both technical and team leadership expertise and could bring the best of both worlds together to improve the user experience, provide a better environment for developers, and strategically position the company for scale.

RESULTS

  • Powerful and resilient platform, future-proofed to support massive market expansion and internationalisation
  • Remote teams empowered to work faster and more efficiently, which allows Perforcal to focus on other priorities
  • Capable tech support on the team profile, giving Perfocal’s investment chances a considerable boost

Challenge

Perfocal needed to find expert engineers to level up and prepare its platform to support their scale for enterprise markets and internationalisation.

Described as an ‘uber for photographers’, Perfocal connects businesses and individuals who wish to purchase photography services with freelance photographers who can provide the right skills and equipment. The platform currently has coverage right across the UK, with full-spectrum specialisms ranging from wedding photography to real estate. Its on-demand offer is promising in the US market and is particularly attractive to customers in the B2B space.

“Our clients just plug in and hire photographers in real-time using an Uber-style system,” says Tony Xu, the founder and managing director at Perfocal. “Because we work across hundreds of locations at any one time, that allows enterprise clients to get 100 shoots done in 100 different cities in just 2 or 3 days, while enjoying a consistent deliverable in terms of quality, style and time. There’s no way one photographer would get that kind of work done.”

Perfocal built a highly functional platform that satisfied core requirements for its clients and freelancers; however, they wanted to future-proof their design to support further market expansion and internationalisation at pace, especially in the opportunity-ripe U.S. market. This would require hiring a Senior Javascript Engineer with a track record of leading high-visibility projects in disruptive growth industries, and an ability to step up and own the process. Most importantly, they needed someone who could lead a remote team of developers.

We needed an engineer with CTO potential, who could lead remote engineering teams professionally and confidently. Adeva matched us with someone that really wanted to own the product and drive the vision.

Tony Xu

Founder and Managing Director, Perfocal

Solution

Using Adeva’s perfect-fit staffing model, Perfocal found the specialist who integrated seamlessly into a team-leader role and strategically positioned the platform for scale.

“When thinking about the type of developer we needed to bring us into the future, I knew we were looking at big upgrades,” explains Peter Huang, Product & Growth Lead at Perfocal. “We needed someone with CTO potential who could lead engineering teams professionally and confidently. Someone who could own the product and drive the vision; who could digest commands and communicate in a straightforward way. Someone who was capable of helping other people grow in their roles. It was a big ask!”

“The people at Adeva come from a tech background and they understood what we needed even if we couldn’t fully articulate it,” Tony adds. “Lots of agencies wanted us to work with them very urgently. They would start sending us CVs in the first email. We didn’t like that salesy approach. We wanted to work with someone who understood our hiring goals, technical needs and team dynamics, saved us time by screening candidates and was super responsive as our selection criteria narrowed. These are the difference makers. And ultimately, we’ve found someone we are very pleased with.”

Results

The powerful new platform architecture empowers Perfocal to scale faster than ever, explore new products and position itself for a successful new funding round.

Perfocal knew their platform was good, but bringing in a fresh pair of eyes showed the company where there was space for improvement. Within a few weeks, their Lead Engineer had provided critical documentation for the developers and proven his ability to dive in quickly and become fully integrated in the process and the team.

“We were thinking scale and growth as big-picture items,” Peter explains. “The lead engineer Adeva found for us gives us a deeper analysis. He helps us baseline and understand where investments needed to be made to grow the team and product, and for stability in the future. He is great at making cost-value presentations about why we might need a particular upgrade or switch to get us from this point to this future point. He helps us understand the development challenges and visualise the long-term effects of the product with improvements in place.”

Moving forward, Perfocal has a number of tech projects in the pipeline, including enhanced image processing services and AI. They are delighted to have an engineer on board who is really invested in their product and wants to take it to the next level.

“It goes back to being a people connector,“ Tony says. “Techies support decisions when they can see their value—that it’s going to iterate faster, process faster, ship faster. Our success would not have been possible without a talented improvement person who brought us the best of both worlds: tech resilience in a scale-up environment, and quality team leadership. It’s an approach that’s paying dividends and will do so for some time into the future.”

With a Series A funding round on the horizon, Perfocal’s founders feel they now have a better story to tell investors. “Having a strong and stable tech support in the team profile is a key metric for investors,” Tony says. “Some investors may not care too much about revenue at early stages, but they almost always care about the team. Show you have a team with a proven track record, that shares the same passion and vision, and that’s a strong bonus. We’re excited for what next year will bring.”