After launching two of the most popular photo editing apps for iOS, Israel’s Lightricks announced today that it has taken its first round of venture capital.
The company raised $10 million from Carmel Ventures, also based in Israel, to help it accelerate product development. So far, the company has released Facetune (in 2013) and Enlight (earlier this year), which remain respectively the second and seventh top-selling paid photo apps in the U.S., according to App Annie’s charts.
But there’s a lot more to come, says Itai Tsiddon, one of Lightricks’ cofounders and director of business development. The company wants to become a dominant force for creativity on mobile devices and envisions a whole stable of apps to achieve that goal.
“If you really want to execute on this vision of owning creativity on mobile, then you need a suite of applications,” he said. “The issue is really one of speed. This field is moving very quickly.”
So far, Lightricks has done pretty well without accepting any external funding. Based in Jerusalem, the company has hired 30 employees and is currently on a run rate of $10 million in annual revenues. It’s been investing and hiring by using the profits from sales of its premium apps.
Facetune was number six on the list of top-selling paid iOS apps for 2014. Enlight has been the top-ranked paid app in 120 countries on its way to selling 1 million copies since its debut in March.
Impressive, for sure. But until now Lightricks has also been essentially doing one thing at a time. The company released the iPad version of Enlight several months after the release of the iPhone version.
“There’s only so much only you can do with that approach,” Tsiddon said. “The rational behind this round of funding is that we can work in parallel on different things. We can accelerate even more and take more risks.”
In a statement, Daniel Cohen, general partner at Carmel Ventures, said the firm wants to help Lightricks execute on its global vision.
“What Lightricks has achieved to date is remarkable, and what struck us was the team’s vision and will to build a world-class company,” he said. “Lightricks possesses a rare combination of proprietary core technology alongside a proven track record of creating products people want and are happy to pay for.”
Currently, the company is hoping to double the number of employees with the new funding. And in addition to developing new image processing apps, the company is still exploring how it can make a premium version of its apps for Android, since Android users have proven to be less willing to pay for apps than iOS users.
Eventually, the company needs to be on all platforms because it wants its tools in the hands of as many people as possible, Tsiddon said. By taking on its first outside funding, Lightricks hopes it’s found the partner that will help it do just that.
“If you look at the numbers, the logic of the deal is, ‘Let’s see if we can build a big company,'” he said. “Now we’ve got to get back and put our heads down.”