Startup turns your photos into ad vehicles

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If I ever suspend my sanity long enough to enter a Warrior Dash, there’s one thing I will absolutely need: a photo of my mud-caked self in action, to show everyone I know just how bad I am.

Now, I can get one for free — a professional one, not a smartphone one — thanks to a Boston startup called Gameface Media, which just signed a deal with the obstacle course series.


Instead of selling sporting-event photography to participants, the two-year-old company sells advertising space to corporate sponsors. So that picture of me scaling a wall, if it ever happens, will have an Under Armour logo on it, or perhaps one from Merrell or Vibram.

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“The feedback we’ve gotten from the vast majority of participants is they actually like the photo better with a logo on it,” said Gameface’s chief executive, David Lavallee. “It’s almost like, ‘I’m a sponsored athlete,’ or at the very least, ‘The event I participated in is legit.’ ”

The idea is that when I share the photo on social media, I’ll give the sponsor dozens or even hundreds of ad impressions. Companies will pay for that kind of exposure.

“Digital marketing is a big part of our brand,” said Jessi Cox, promotions manager for Harpoon Brewery, which organized a road race last year and hired Gameface to photograph runners and slap its logo on every picture. “The more we can engage with people beyond just a beer in their hand, the better.”

Event participants, on the other hand, are more tightfisted; fewer than 10 percent open their wallets when asked to buy photos of themselves, according to Gameface research.


But with revenue coming in from sponsors, Gameface can give away its photos for free. That’s good news for all you crazy Warrior Dashers, and you won’t have to wait long to get that sweet action shot. The next Warrior Dash event in Massachusetts is May 31.

Callum Borchers

Tech veteran joins Altisource

A veteran local tech entrepreneur, Michael Schreck, has joined Altisource Labs in Boston to run its new accelerator program.

An outpost of the Luxembourg-based financial services giant, the lab intends to build software ventures that can stand alone as independent companies.

Currently, the accelerator is working with four fledgling enterprises. The idea is to use the technology, know-how, and financial resources at Altisource to grow new companies in markets such as finance and real estate. Altisource opened the Boston lab last year to tap the area’s engineering talent. So far, it has 160 employees in Boston and is looking for space to expand.


Schreck has a track record of successful ventures. He was a cofounder of the local startups m-Qube and Upromise. He also helped start the Harvard Square venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners.

Now, as the managing director at Altisource Labs, Schreck will test whether a corporation can be as innovative as a scrappy startup.

Schreck says Altisource has what it takes. “We’re a startup with a Nasdaq listing. That’s our culture,” he said.

What’s more, he said, ventures developed within the Altisource program will have the financial resources to go after massive industries such as finance.

“For a venture platform to play in that space is tough,” Schreck said. “It’s not a social media website. This is enterprise-class software.”

Altisource Labs is growing fast and plans to hire hundreds of engineers and other tech workers in the next 12 to 18 months.

A call for Net neutrality Venture capitalists from the Boston area are among those who signed a letter last week urging the Federal Communications Commission to prevent the end of a “free and open Internet.” The letter was signed by 50 venture capitalists, including nine from the Boston area.

They are: Brady Bohrmann, Avalon Ventures; Jeffrey Bussgang, Flybridge Capital Partners; Joe Chung, Redstar Ventures; Liam Donohue, .406 Ventures; Rob Go, Next View Ventures; Nabeel A. Hyatt, Spark Capital; Jon Karlen, Atlas Ventures; Eric Paley, Founder Collective; Jonathan Seelig, Globespan Capital Partners;

The effort follows the FCC’s defeat in court in January of its previous “Net neutrality” position. (FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has since floated a new proposal that would allow content providers to pay for faster Internet delivery.)

“Based on news reports and your own statements, we are worried that your proposed rules will not provide the necessary certainty that we need to make investment decisions and that these rules will stifle innovation in the Internet sector,” the letter reads. “If established companies are able to pay for better access speeds or lower latency, the Internet will no longer be a level playing field.”