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At TechStars Patriot Boot Camp, Missouri vet preps Picsure launch

Terry Roberts poses with TechStars founder David Cohen on Thursday at TechStars Patriot Boot Camp.

Over the next two days in Washington D.C., Terry Roberts has one goal: build relationships with the staff, mentors and alumni of TechStars, the Boulder, Colo.-based startup accelerator.

Roberts, a Columbia, Mo. native and a former active-duty Marine, is part of the accelerator’s first Patriot Boot Camp, a “TechStars-like” experience that began Wednesday.

“I know it’s only three days,” Roberts said in a phone interview earlier this month, “(but) that’s three days that I have 110 percent dedicated 24 hours each day to learn and soak in absolutely as much as I can.”

The Boot Camp is being held for startups founded by veterans. After a two-stage application process to qualify for the free Boot Camp, about 75 entrepreneurs are making their way through exercises, guest speakers and startup tours and, through it all, working with 70 mentors.

demo day on Friday wraps up the experience. Founders will take the stage in a Georgetown University auditorium to pitch their business idea and present a plan to achieve their business goals.

For Roberts, that idea is Picsure, a mobile app that he and his wife, Kerri, thought up last year and now needs only Apple approval before making its debut in the App Store.

“Picsure is an iOs-based app that will enable any user to print a photo with just a click, straight from the phone,” Roberts said. “It basically eliminates all the inconveniences of the way that we used to have to print photos.”

The app also allows a user to create an event, such as a baby shower, and for other users to add pictures to that event, either through the app’s camera function or uploading from an iPhone’s photo library.

“The purpose of that is to basically crowdsource all of the photos from everybody who shows up to the event,” Roberts said, noting that each photo gives credit to the person who took it and allows for comments and “likes.”

The app, which has an icon that looks like a disposable camera (above), features three buttons on its home screen: events, camera and print. The print function (right), which is reminiscent of a dark room, allows a user to select a minimum of five photos, order them from the app and expect them shipped within 24 hours. Roberts said at launch it would only offer 4×6 photos with eaching costing 60 cents (Walgreens costs 12 cents shipped, 19 cents in-store), but plans for a subscription model are in the works. Currently, Roberts and his team are manually printing and shipping each photo.

Picsure aims to provide the one-two punch of gathering pictures from an event and making it easy to print them. Apps that offer the gather feature include Tracks and Cake Face, and those with the print feature include Kicksend and PostalPic, but a search of the app store turned up no apps that offer both capabilities.

Though Roberts didn’t originally intend to offer users the option of printing from a retail outlet, news last week of Walgreens’ developer portal that allows third-party apps to offer in-store printing has him reconsidering. 

“This could very easily be a feature that is available on V.2,” Roberts said in an email following the news.

To develop the app, Roberts and his two co-founders (Kerri and Sundeep Boinpally) contracted the three-person team at Rockupied, a mobile app firm in Columbia. He’s bootstrapped the cost of development and has held a full-time job throughout, recently accepting a new position to head the innovation efforts for Veterans United Home Loans.

When asked if a future application to a three-month accelerator – versus the current three-day experience – would mean he would go full-time on Picsure, he said it would be tough to leave a new job he’s grateful to have. Instead, he’d send other members of the team.

For now, though, Roberts is focused on making the most of Boot Camp and, he hopes, celebrating Picsure’s release in the App Store.

 

Credits: Photo of Roberts and Cohen courtesy of Roberts. Screenshot from Picsure blog.

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