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Hack To Start
Episode 122

Joel Flory

Co-Founder & CEO of @VSCO

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Joel Flory is the co-founder & CEO of VSCO. Joel turned his passion for travel and seeing the world through photographs into a career as a professional photographer. After more than 10 years of running his own business, he and his co-founder Greg set out to build something that would fill-in the many gaps they saw in the industry. Visual Supply Company was then born in 2011. The company has evolved from a series of photography workshops, to a film emulation plugin for photoshop and illustrator, and then made the jump to mobile as a simple photo editing app in 2013, before becoming the product it is today. VSCO is now used by more than 45 million active users worldwide. While they were initially bootstrapped for the first 3 years of business, they’ve since raised over 70 million dollars to continue to build their platform and creative community. Joel joins us to share his story, what it’s been like building VSCO, why their community is incredibly important to the entire company, how they’ve grown over the years, how they approached raising money, what’s next for the platform, and much more!

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Joel got into photography & startups
  • Learn more about how Joel approached growing the VSCO community
  • Learn more about how Joel & VSCO approached raising 70M+ in venture capital
  • Learn more about what's next for the platform
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Joel Flory is the co-founder & CEO of VSCO.

Joel turned his passion for travel and seeing the world through photographs into a career as a professional photographer. After more than 10 years of running his own business, he and his co-founder Greg set out to build something that would fill-in the many gaps they saw in the industry.

Visual Supply Company was then born in 2011.

The company has evolved from a series of photography workshops, to a film emulation plugin for photoshop and illustrator, and then made the jump to mobile as a simple photo editing app in 2013, before becoming the product it is today.

VSCO is now used by more than 45 million active users worldwide.

While they were initially bootstrapped for the first 3 years of business, they’ve since raised over 70 million dollars to continue to build their platform and creative community.

Joel joins us to share his story, what it’s been like building VSCO, why their community is incredibly important to the entire company, how they’ve grown over the years, how they approached raising money, what’s next for the platform, and much more!


Some Of The Questions We Ask

1:55
Where are you from and what did you study?

2:49
How did your passion for photography and tech develop?

4:49
How did you start your career? What were some of your first jobs?

5:59
You’re currently the co-founder & CEO of VSCO. For those who might not know, can you tell us more about VSCO and what motivated you to start it?

8:34
What were some of the biggest challenges - in the early days - that you had to overcome?

9:31
Community is obviously super important for VSCO. How do you approach building a strong community of users and photographers within VSCO?

12:18
VSCO currently has more than 45+ million monthly active users. How did you guys go about getting some of your first users? And what have been some of the most effective tactics or channels to continue growing?

13:14
You’ve raised over $70M for VSCO - what was that process like for you? Do you have any tips to share with other entrepreneurs?

15:30
The VSCO team is now more than 150 people on both coasts. How do you balance building your team and strengthening your culture?

16:55
You guys have also had some pretty awesome partnerships over the years with companies, organizations, and creatives like: Nike, WWF, MTV, & Ta-Ku. How do you approach making these types of partnerships happen?

20:17
What’s your day-to-day role like now? What’s next for VSCO?

26:19
What’s are some of the coolest apps/tools you’ve downloaded or used recently?

27:56
Any recommendations on some great content that you’ve come across lately?

29:37
Any last thoughts or personal mottos that you live by that you think others should know about?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Joel Flory on Twitter
Joel Flory on VSCO
VSCO on Twitter
VSCO on the Web
DSCO on the Web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

GOAT
Nuzzel
Dwell
Audible
Shoe Dog
Play Bigger
The Coaching Habit

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