London-based startup Picfair has raised £1.5m in a funding round led by the Claverley Group, TechCrunch reports.
Founded in 2013 by former journalist Benji Lanyado, the startup operates an ‘open-to-all image licensing marketplace’ to provide publishers, agencies, startups and large firms with authentic photographs.
Speaking about the fundraise, Lanyado said the company will use the funds to develop its photographer platform and make it easier for users to show off their images.
Additionally, Picfair will look to increase sales and marketing activities and continue developing the firm’s proprietary search curation technology.
Lanyado also spoke about why he decided to set up the company: “When I was a journalist it used to drive me crazy that the only image licensing options I had were professional, homogeneous, and inauthentic. We’re living through the biggest proliferation of images in history, and it’s not just quantity, it’s quality too – powered by affordable DSLRs, exponentially improving cameraphones, and complex editing software baked into mainstream apps like Instagram. And yet the image licensing industry has always closed it’s doors to ‘amateur’ photography.”
“I quit my job at the Guardian, learnt to code, and built Picfair. I was trying to make something that solved this one huge problem in the industry – the constriction of supply – but in the process discovered some more really crazy things. Image licensing has the highest rake of any online marketplace: the cut taken by the brokers is usually around 80%. So, we reversed this.”
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Lanyado said photographers using Picfair are able to set their own prices and get what they ask for – the company sets a 20% markup on top of the users’desired price.
“Not only does this feel right, it’s also an opportunity. We believe that if you treat photographers fairly, they’ll tell their colleagues about you. We’re up to 25,000 photographers in 130 countries now – from total amateurs to award-winning professionals to huge image studios, and they’ve uploaded almost five million images.”
Today’s announcement comes after the company closed a $520,000 Seed in June 2014. Months later, in May 2015, Picfair raised an undisclosed round from Force Over Mass and Theo Osborne – the brother of former chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne.
Angel investors, including John Fingleton (former CE of the OFT and Treasury advisor); Jeremy Palmer (Quantum Black CEO); and Chris Sheldrick (CEO of What3Words) have also backed the company.
Check out our UK tech investment tracker for the latest industry deals.