This article was published on November 22, 2011

Hobzy emerges from the UK’s Oxygen Accelerator to help users showcase their pastimes

Hobzy emerges from the UK’s Oxygen Accelerator to help users showcase their pastimes
Paul Sawers
Story by

Paul Sawers

Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.

We first reported on Oxygen Accelerator back in May, a Birmingham-based investment, mentoring and training programme for tech startups.

The 13-week programme is almost at an end, with demo-day taking place on the 30th of November, but we’ve had a sneak preview of one of the startups from the programme.

Hobzy launched in beta last week, notching up 3,000 registered users in under 5 days. I’m told that it’s growing exponentially and expects to have 10,000 users by the time demo day comes around. So what is Hobzy?

Hobzy’s strapline is “The platform for your pastime!”, and the Web app lets you upload pictures, videos, tutorials and any kind of work to your collections. You can then share these collections to your network of friends and followers, then get feedback from your peers, or even experts in the field.

The people behind Hobzy have also created a twin site called Host my Portfolio aimed at professionals, such as graphic designers and photographers. They plan to monetize through a combination of subscription packages and one-off micro payments. And they are also exploring the possibility of offering their platform as a ‘white-label’ product for businesses looking to build a network around content.

So how does it all work?

You have an area called ‘Your Space’. This is like your own personal hard drive on Hobzy. All work contained in your space is private, once you’ve uploaded files to your space, it can be turned into a public collection where people can view, like, comment and keep track of your work.

Once you’ve registered to create an account on Hobzy, you can connect with Facebook, Twitter or manually enter your details to complete your profile:

You click ‘upload files’, and then select files from your computer to upload – it could be photos, videos, music, graphics, illustrations…anything.

Once you’re finished adding files, you’ll be invited to go through a few steps in the collection creator, where you’ll give the collection a title, description and a cover image:

You’ll then be invited to select the theme and layout of your collection, which is essentially a choice of canvases for displaying your work:

You can then click on different parts of your canvas to position the media:

Once you’ve saved, you can go back in to see your whole range of collections:

You can also search for collections from others users on Hobzy, though I tried to search for my own collection ‘Travel Photos”, and I couldn’t find it. As it says in the message below ‘No results found’, “Hobzy is still very young”, so hopefully the search function can be improved:

Overall, it’s a nice interface, design, layout and, importantly, it’s easy to use. Would you want to use Hobzy though? My initial hunch is that it’s quite a saturated marketplace already, and gaining long-term traction could be tough. If you’re showcasing, say, video – wouldn’t you just want a YouTube or Vimeo account?  If you’re showcasing photographic pieces, wouldn’t you just want to create a portfolio on the countless existing online photo platforms already out there?

Back in July, we covered a startup called Use it or Lose it which, whilst offering a different use-case for its platform, adopts a similar approach in terms of enabling users to bundle photos together into collections and share them. Admittedly, Use it or Lose it is only restricted to images, but it helps to demonstrate that the photo/video/presentation sharing space is a pretty popular one at the moment.

That said, if Hobzy is on-track for 10,000 users by demo day, then that’s not a bad beginning to startup life. But keeping the 10,000 users and building on that growth will be tough. It’s also worth noting that Hobzy is still in beta mode, and there will no doubt be a few more enhancements to come.

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