The ‘Google for user-generated content’ is about to launch a one-stop shop for companies looking to find unique visuals sourced from users of the world’s largest social media platforms.
Lobster was founded in April 2013 to open up the content generated on social platforms for commercial use. The company has since iterated its product, growing from a marketplace into a searchable image sales platform.
In the coming weeks, Lobster will go live with Vine, Twitter and Vimeo, having already integrated with Instagram and Flickr. Users can search for and request to buy any images that have been posted publicly on these platforms.
The company participated in the Wayra accelerator, graduating in December last year and receiving £68,000 to work on the idea. The London-based startup then raised $100,000 in an angel round in January to build its new ‘search and request’ feature.
Lobster is now opening a new round of £500,000 to “make it a million user platform and concluding some important partnerships with the buyers and source platforms,” cofounder Olga Egorsheva told Tech City News.
Social media users can’t expect to make a living from the platform, receiving just a few dollars via PayPal if their images are used, but lucky or talented hobbyists could get around $100 every month.
“It is to many the emotional reward that drives them. Our users are always very excited when someone wants to use the images they’ve posted, – ‘I got discovered’ is their feeling,” Egorsheva said. “Professional photographers also like that they invest into building the honest place to find and access photographic content, for everyone, for their amateur and beginner fellows.”
Lobster takes a 25% commission on each marketplace transaction, compared to up to 70% in traditional photo stocks, and is exploring new business models, including premium user accounts and subscriptions.