Breaking into the Global Photo-Sharing Industry
While companies like Facebook, Instagram, Getty, and Flickr, just to name a few, continue to dominate the global photo-sharing landscape, a new company aims to expand its’ commercial photo-sharing ambitions through a new round of impressive funding.

The Toronto-based startup, 500px, recently raised $13 million dollars to improve their platform for allowing users to post and share, as well as buy and sell photos. The Series B funding is led by strategic investor, the Visual China Group, and also includes participating from existing backers, such as Andreessen Horowitz, Harrison Metal, and ff Venture Capital.

Chasing the Competition

The company’s next round of funding comes on the heels of its’ announcement that is has crossed the 55 million images threshold. The company currently maintains a community of about six million members, which is about half the size of its’ nearest competitor, EyeEm, in terms of community size.

500px’s principal investor, the Visual China Group, is largely considered to be China’s closest equivalent to Getty Pictures, a company that maintains a close relationship with EyeEm. The relationships between these larger companies and relatively small photo-sharing platforms are a sign of a growing trend.

With the widespread use of smartphones and their ability to function as instantly connected cameras, more established photo agency marketplaces are looking for increasing entry points into the massive stream of visual content that now exists on the Internet.

According to Amy Liang, CEO of Visual China Group, “The 500px brand has huge potential in the Asia-Pacific region with its unparalleled image quality combined with the massive community base. As a strategic shareholder, we are delighted to distribute 500px premium quality images to our entire customer base in Greater China.”

Commercializing the Photo-Sharing World

The continuing explosion of global smartphone and social media usage means that a huge amount of pictures are being posted publicly every day. The team at 500px strongly believes that the potential for commercializing more of that photo market is far from being tapped.

“Over 1 trillion photographs are taken every year and there is tremendous opportunity for 500px to take the helm in curating to surface the best of them,” said Andy Yang, CEO of 500px. The joint venture between 500px and the Visual China Group must outstrip the efforts of more established brands, such as Getty and Flickr, which have recently been working to expand their own commercial photo purchasing and licensing business.

Despite the competition, Yang and his team remain confident. “This funding round will enable us to continue to support our rapidly growing community of photographers,” explained Yang, “be they professional or enthusiasts, with products for discovering, showcasing, and selling amazing content. This round will also open the door for us to the Greater China market by working with the market leader Visual China Group.”

While 500px has certainly experienced its’ ups and downs over the last few years, finding itself in violation of Apple’s adult content policies and being reinstated with stricter guidelines as to how their content is handled, the company has raised $23 million for their efforts to date, and through their most recent partnership, the future looks bright.

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Posted by: DSR
Monday, August 3, 2015
Tag: Business Start Ups
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