20 Nov 2015 Patrick Lor – Microstock Celebrity
Relative to the scale of his achievements, the career of Patrick Lor has flown relatively under the radar in the stock photo industry.
Credited as Co-Founder, he took iStock from initial monetisation to a successful exit via Getty. He then headed Fotolia North America for a few years before a stint as Entrepreneur in Residence at Canadian VC, iNovia. He then founded Dissolve which he runs as CEO, and also has a seat on the board of 500px.
Not too shabby. Let’s take a closer look at this illustrious career.
Patrick’s Business Record
Although a Hong Kong native by birth, Patrick is Canadian and has lived most of his life in Canada. He holds a degree in Sociology and a Masters in Business from the University of Calgary.
He started his professional career as Product Development Manager for Adobe. Soon after that role concluded he worked on his Masters studies, getting his degree in 2001.
In 2002 he co-founded iStockphoto, joining Bruce Livingstone’s project holding EVP and Director positions as they transformed the company into a for-profit business, inventing the microstock business model as we know it today.
Patrick left iStock in May 2006, the year the company sold to Getty Images for $50M. From 2009 to 2012 he was President of Fotolia North America, leading the regional operations of the European agency in the biggest market for stock photos in the world.
His involvement in Canada’s business development space started soon after leaving iStock. Patrick and other local entrepreneurs helped create a tech startup ecosystem with events that brought mentors, funders and founders together.
In 2013, he took a role as Entrepreneur in Residency at iNovia Capital for a few months, furthering his mentoring roles. This position allowed him to explore new business opportunities for himself as well, and soon he pulled together a team of industry experts –mostly fellow Canadian ex-Veer executives– to create the premium stock video licensing company, Dissolve.
Dissolve launched in May 2013 focused on premium exclusive video content, targeting high-end industry buyers. They do a lot of creative marketing campaigns, and have a refreshing approach to stock video criticism, leveraging open criticism for great publicity.
After two years, and with some changes in pricing structure, all outward signs show that the company is growing strongly. They recently introduced a stock photo library to compliment the footage collection.
Supporting Local Startup Development
Soon after the launching of Dissolve, Canada-based photo sharing platform 500px was in the process of getting into the stock photo business, and they reached out to Patrick for advice. He ended up taking a seat on their Directors board, and 500px’s Prime stock marketplace was launched not long after that.
Besides this industry-related advisor role, Patrick is an active mentor, angel investor and advisor for numerous new businesses in the Canadian startup scene. And he also volunteers for many organisations supporting development for local business projects, like thea100.org, thec100.org, democampcalgary.com, his alma mater University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, GrowLab, and FounderFuel.
Patrick has stated one of the best features of Canada’s people in general is their openness to share knowledge. He thinks this feature is key in the startup community, since business developers are keen on sharing their experiences with each other, especially from one country region to other, leveraging their knowledge to widen their opportunities.
As for entrepreneurs themselves, he has often said he believes both the idea and the capacity of the entrepreneur are critical to get a project running and to take it to success. He also considers entrepreneurship is still a misunderstood concept, where many achievements are not recognised as such, and where many individuals feel they can succeed without hard work.
When mentoring or investing in startups, he analyses not only the level of innovation and commercial viability of the project, but the commitment, dedication and intelligence of the leaders. This integral approach to business is a key driver of Patrick’s own career.