Phoebe Jiang, 29
Co-founder and COO, Pixieset Media Inc.
Evaan KherajLife Story: Photography and technology have always been passions for Phoebe Jiang, who found a way to spin that into a business. Jiang moved to Vancouver with her parents in 1999 from Luoyang, a city in Central China. After earning a bachelor of business administration in finance and accounting from SFU in 2010, she worked several corporate jobs, including a stint as a sales assistant to investment advisers at Toronto-Dominion Bank. One day Jiang and her husband, a software developer, noticed that a professional-photographer friend used a DVD burner to provide images to clients.
Seeing an opportunity, the couple launched Pixieset Media, a cloud-based service that lets users upload and send photos, in mid-2013. Jiang’s husband wrote the software, so startup costs were low. Also, news of Pixieset, which offers plans ranging from free to US$50 a month, spread quickly in the close-knit photography community. “We never spent much money on marketing or direct selling,” Jiang says. “It was mostly just word of mouth.”
The Bottom Line: Pixieset serves more than 200,000 photographers worldwide, according to Jiang, most of them in English-speaking countries. The team stands at 16, and revenue has climbed from just $4,000 in 2013 to more than seven figures last year.