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Kiwi photographer's 'game-changer' software scoops $4 million in investors in just a month

How many people have a business idea that might fly if they could just get some money?

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James Broadbent co-created an artificial intelligence programme to weed out images that just won’t work. Source: Seven Sharp

Photographer James Broadbent had an idea then managed to get $4 million to make it happen. 

He specialises in love photography, capturing people's special days.

"It's the only time in a person's life where they and their love person have all their friends and family together in one place," he told Seven Sharp.

He's even photographed some All Black nuptials.

But capturing every loving look is harder than you'd think. For every day he spends behind a camera, Mr Broadbent reckons he spends another four behind the computer.

"You have 3000-5000 images. And trawling through them and trying to find the perfect moment is a painful process," he says.

Mr Broadbent wanted to ease that pain. Luckily his flatmate Steffan is a software genius.

Between them, they created Narrative, a software that uses artificial intelligence to weed out images that just won't work.

"People are incredibly difficult to shoot, because they're always moving, talking, blinking," Mr Broadbent says.

Underneath each face there's a bar and a dot, which gives feedback about the person's eyes and the focus.

A red bar means their eyes are closed, while no warning indicators mean the eyes are open and the faces are in focus. 

It's a game changer, but game-changers are expensive. 

"I essentially used what I would have used to put a deposit on a house to start a company," Mr Broadbent says.

But in just a month, they managed to get investors to hand over $4 million in venture capital.

"You can't just email them and say, 'Hey I've got this idea, would you like to give me money?' Because they get thousands of emails like that each week," Mr Broadbent says.

"You want to sit down with them."

He says people need to be ready to commit long-term if they want the cash support, and they don't need to lock themselves into only one investor. 

"It's a little bit like an auction. You want multiple players in that auction who are bidding to get the deal," he says.

"I'd openly let them know I have another offer on the table here. I'm probably going to sign that this week, do you have something better?"

And don't let a rejection put you off - Mr Broadbent reckons they got several hundred.

So if you're sitting on what you think is a great idea, share it.

"If you think you're the first person to have this idea, you're almost certainly not," Mr Broadbent says.

"Start acting on it."