Startup Weekend Stories: Eric and the super side project

Startup Weekend Stories: Memories, reflections and lessons learned from Startup Weekend events in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa. 

Today we meet Eric Bailey, a designer, photographer, and front-end web developer. Eric is currently living and working in New York, but this story dates to Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids 2014. An idea that was a “super side project” (read: never gonna happen during work hours) for Sculpt finally got off the ground during Startup Weekend.

Then, that idea blew up. To date, Startup Stock Photos averages 50,000 pageviews per month and has been featured by the likes of Mashable, INC, The Next Web, and Entrepreneur. This is Eric’s recap. (Originally published on, more via Sculpt.)

Eric, the creator of Startup Stock Photos, as featured in a Startup Stock Photo.
Eric, the creator of Startup Stock Photos, as featured in a Startup Stock Photo.


Free stock photo sites are all the rage right now. Sites like Unsplash andLittle Visuals are bookmarked on my Chrome – I use them for everything. Like the open source movement, getting higher quality assets into the hands of people that are creating online is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

At Sculpt, I take a lot of photos, and we work with a lot of startups. So it was a serious joke when my CEO, Josh, and I were working late one night and he suggested I start a stock photo site.

“Call it Startup Stock Photos.”

“Okay. That sounds fun.”

So I bought the domain.

Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids was a week or so after that night. Between covering the event via social (Twitter/Facebook) and participating on a team, I set up a Tumblr and started uploading photos to the domain

And the response has been amazing. The site bounced around our regional networks for a few months before the fantastic startup community we have here in Iowa got wind of it. Huge thanks to Megan at Silicon Prairie News for her write-up, as well as Sarah over at We Create Here and Geoff at Welch Avenue.

It’s a constant joy to see my photos on other sites, and used by so many different people and companies.

Josh adds: “Because we love supporting startups. Because we hated the pictures writers licensed for their articles. Because we love bringing the Iowa startup community to the rest of the world.”

Here are a few examples – many more at

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Find the next Startup Weekend in Iowa at!