Where it began…
My360 is a company owned by Plush Global Media.
Plush Global Media has been in the business of virtual tours since early 2005 when Lee Collins, the owner of Plush Global Media, made virtual tours using a Canon G5 camera and mirrored lens to make the virtual tours that then had to be processed using complicated software to output a 2:1 panorama image that could in turn be added to a virtual tour player he had to program for each tour.
The whole process was time consuming and expensive, but this was before the days of instant 360º cameras so it was all he had…
Lee also had a great idea back in 2007 and he actually wrote Google a letter (handwritten at the time!) suggesting they could do so much more with their Street View maps if they could connect it with virtual tour images of businesses.
He never received an answer from Google, but just a few years after he sent his letter, in 2011, Google Business Street View was officially launched
In 2009, Lee met Scarlett Smits who is an expert in online marketing and web design. Scarlett contracted Lee’s services to make virtual tours of her client’s businesses and that’s where the love story began!
Lee & Scarlett both had their own business and realised that by merging these businesses, a lot more could be achieved and so Scarlett became equal shareholder in Plush Global Media.
There was still not much innovation in terms of new camera equipment to make virtual tours, so Lee would continue to spend many hours shooting, editing & publishing his tours while Scarlett looked for new clients and took care of the online marketing for Plush Global Media.
Google Street View had now become more popular with clients, but there were only a few select people that were able to add their virtual tours to Streetview and the prices for a virtual tour continued to be high and often unaffordable for smaller businesses.
The Instant 360 camera was born…
In 2014 Lee was approached by a company in Scotland called “NCTech”. Lee already had business dealings with NCTech before for another client he had been working for so he knew the owners of the company well.
NCTech had developed an instant 360º camera off the back of a product that had been in the market for years – the iStar 360 – used for military, crime scene photography and surveillance.
They had re-developed this camera to suit photographers and were in the testing phase to see how quickly and cost effectively you could make 360 images of businesses. This is where they needed Lee’s help. Where NcTech were great developers of software, they did not have the know-how to sell the end-product quickly and cost effectively to the “small” business owner.
Furthermore, they wanted to do a market research they could show to Google so their camera could get approved for Street View, opening the market to many more photographers.
Lee & Scarlett agreed to run the tests with this camera and started taking 1000’s of pictures to put on Google Street View in a matter of weeks, selling virtual tours for a fraction of the cost to any business, especially the small business owners.
NCTech showed the results to Google and, boy were they pleased! More content in a fraction of the time! Yes, this was exactly what they needed, and the iStar was soon approved for Google Street View.
Plush Global Media also grew exponentially that year. With this new camera that allowed them to add businesses to Google for an affordable price, many businesses were interested. So Lee & Scarlett developed a sales manual, and decided to share their knowledge with the world.
They developed a software to use for photographers who wanted to add their pictures to Google Street View, initially using the iStar 360 camera & the Iris360 cameras, and helped many photographers grow their business significantly.
The software allowed the photographer to employ staff to take the pictures, to “mass produce” virtual tours in record time and keep track of commissions and payments from clients.
It was 2016 and the first affordable 360º camera had just been launched by Ricoh Theta. The Ricoh Theta SC. Lee & Scarlett had purchased one to see the quality fo the camera and were very impressed by how easy it was to use this camera and how quickly it made the images. No stitching required, no complicated settings. It was quick and easy.
One day, when Lee & Scarlett drove home from a Real Estate shoot, they got talking about property virtual tours and that, even though prices were dirt cheap by then, virtual tours still did not take off as much as it had done for Google Street View photographers.
With these new Instant 360º camera, it was easier than ever! And then they had an idea…
Why not have the estate agent make their OWN virtual tours! Is there even a software out there that does that?
A quick Google Search showed them that, indeed, no such software exists! So with this new idea in hand they went to speak to their platform developer to find out what the possibilities were.
Turns out… to build something like this was pretty costly, and Lee & Scarlett simply did not have the capital to build it.
Until a friend came along and made them an offer they could not refuse! The friend (coincidentally a developer) was willing to build the software in return for accommodation in their Spanish Finca and a small percentage of the company. Well, this was a no brainer, of course this was agreed upon at once!
The building of the software started in November of 2016, and in February 2017 the My360 Virtual Tour Software was born.
Growing towards success…
At the time the My360 software was launched, Plush Global Media had approximately 30 partners (Google Streetview Photographers) in many different countries. The sales network was there, so the My360 software was soon taking off all over the world.
Of course, many other developers saw the success and tried building their own version of the software. Where in February 2016 My360 had no more than 10 competitors, by the beginning of 2018 there were over 100!
My360 had to keep developing their software to stay ahead, and employed 2 developers to do the job. The online marketing skills that Scarlett already had made sure the site was always on top of the search engines and Lee’s customer service and innovation skills made sure the software was always developed and improved and the customers were looked after through a loyal team of customer service agents they employed.
My360 grew into a large worldwide company over the years and has users in every corner of the world.. All through hard work and dedication.
My360 has received NO investment from outside companies, meaning that it does not have to inflate its pricing to please money grabbing investors.
My360 staff & agents ALL have experience in the 360º industry, both in sales, marketing and development, so they know what it is you need to succeed in the business and ensure the software is kept easy and simple to use, even for novices.
With the experience of Lee & Scarlett and a team of hardworking people, My360 has become one of the best and most stable virtual tour software on the market today. Where others have failed and collapsed due to investors pressure or lack of know-how. My360 has thrived through perseverance, hard work and dedication, always with the users perspective in mind!