Photo-sharing startup EyeEm raises $18 million in VC Funding

Photo-sharing startup EyeEm has raised $18 million to accelerate the expansion of its recently launched photo marketplace according to CEO Flo Meissner. They currently have a community of 13 million photographers across 150 countries.

The EyeEm’s unique social aspect to generating content in their marketplace gives them a “truer” feel than other stock photography and allows amateur photographers a space to get paid for their efforts. They have been building machine-learning algorithms that identify the visually appealing apects of images. Some of the money they have received will help them create “missions” to help them find new content.

Meissner says their ongoing goal will be technology. They want to index every image in the world and give access to every image to everyone who owns a smart phone. To date, EyeEm has only launched in the United States, but looks to expand to other markets.

New York-based Valar Ventures led the round, and Meissner writes that all of the startup’s previous investors (Earlybird Ventures, Passion Capital, Wellington Partners, Atlantic Labs and Open Ocean Capital) also participated in the round.

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    As a lead on advocacy issues for APA, I want to note that APA is very concerned with a number of EyeEm’s business practices and is especially concerned with several onerous stipulations in their Terms of Service and in their Third Party Agreements. And though EyeEm seems purposely opaque about their affiliations, it is important to note that they have partnered with GettyImages for distribution and they stipulate that any rights holder must agree to Getty’s terms (though EyeEm fails to outline what those might be). It is also important to note that EyeEm is a German based company, yet is actively pursuing US based photographers for profit. This fact places an undue burden on US image creators and rights holders to pursue legal action against EyeEm should they breach any agreement. APA has reached out to EyeEm leadership and are in the early stages of discussions with their legal team to correct troublesome language and practices. In the interim APA is strongly recommending photographers, rights holders etc. be extremely cautious in dealing with EyeEm until these issue have been resolved.

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