Posted : 2013-03-14 15:28
Updated : 2013-03-14 15:28

Cooliris seeking partnership in Korea

Cooliris CEO Soujanya Bhumkar, third from right in the front row, poses with staff at the company headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., the United States, in this undated photo. / Courtesy of Cooliris

By Kim Yoo-chul

In today's world of highly-developed technology, the key to business success is to touch people's feelings with state-of-the art products.

Cooliris chief executive Soujanya Bhumkar is well aware of this and aims to make a big splash in Korea, the world's most-wired society, with photo-sharing technology.

"Connectivity is everything for the time being. As it's possible to connect all social services through cloud computing, Cooliris is ambitious to lead the way. People get very emotional when it comes to photos. I can now share what I've created,'' the CEO said in an interview with The Korea Times at the COEX InterContinental Hotel, southern Seoul, Thursday.

"In Korea, you can definitely find that consumers are very sophisticated and well educated regarding app economy. Expectations about apps are very high. Our photo-sharing tech has been getting a warm response, here. We are seeking mutual benefit via a constructive relationship. We can deliver something which is very complementary,'' he said.

"Photo-sharing and video-searching are very important for consumers in Korea as the nation is most-advanced in telecom backbone and has qualified smartphones. When users fail to search personal documents in Facebook and Kakao Story, then everything is meaningless," he added.

Bhumkar, who visited Seoul for business talks with officials from a local consumer electronics company and Korea's top mobile carrier, stressed the importance of innovation in products and explained how to succeed in the increasingly-crowded photo-sharing app market.

''Voice and text messaging are no longer communication tools and I can say they are gone. I mean photos are a new tool to get people together. All pictures that are scattered to mobile phones, PCs and social networking services (SNS) can be viewed using our photo-sharing app, regardless of platforms,'' he said.

In an era of smartphones, having competitive and appealing applications is the top priority for developers and the Palo Alto-headquartered firm has seen a quantum leap of its in-house photo-sharing technology.

The company has been offering a nifty free app for iPhone and iPad since 2012 and it's seen a great deal of activity from users, meaning it's transforming into a business-to-consumer (B2C) player, not just business-to-business (B2B).

Since its launch, Cooliris gained the top spot in the App Store in more than 80 countries within the Lifestyle category.

The Calif.-based outfit brings photo discovery and sharing to the next level with the addition of captions and improved Google Image search options.

"Freemium model and monetization are our next words. Everyone wants to look cool and some are willing to pay for it. Monetization is an in-app purchase of premium templates for sharing of collections,'' according to the chief executive.

Bhumkar said more South Korean technology firms have interests in expanding their businesses in Silicon Valley and admitted that Samsung is huge.

"There are always successes and failures. You need to get teamwork, common goal and transparency, then you will get chances,'' the CEO advised.

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