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PhotoShelter, a New York-based startup developing an asset management platform for marketers, today announced that it has secured $8 million in a funding round led by Level Structured Capital, an affiliated fund of Level Equity. This brings the company’s total raised to $12.2 million, following a $4.2 million series A round over a decade ago (in April 2007). CEO Andrew Fingerman says the funds will be used to develop new features, hire more staff, and finance a 23,000-square-foot headquarters in Manhattan’s Financial District later this year.
The way he tells it, this venture capital is well-deserved. This past year, Libris — PhotoShelter’s brand-tailored media solution, which launched in 2015 — saw “significant” growth and now has over 1,000 customers, including the Associated Press, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Purdue University, National Aquarium, Chick-fil-A, Special Olympics Inc., Pandora, PBS, Politico, and Nathan’s Famous.
“We have grown tremendously in our fourteen years as a company and are honored to work with Level Structured Capital. The team at Level understands our vision and wants to help us deliver breakthrough content workflow[s] … for creative teams, marketers, and independent visual storytellers,” he said.
PhotoShelter, which was founded in 2005 by Allen Murabayashi, Grover Sanschagrin, Jason Burfield, and Jeffrey Arnold, launched as a cloud-based portfolio site for professional photographers. (It currently hosts hundreds of millions of images across 80,000 accounts.) Its cheapest plan starts at $12 per month (or $10 per month billed annually), and offers nine prebuilt website templates, 4GB of storage, unlimited traffic and file sizes, and an ecommerce component with a built-in shopping cart. Pricier tiers add social media site integration, custom domain names, and built-in search engine optimization tools.
PhotoShelter’s aforementioned Libris product — which it claims is able to process bulk files from hard drives, servers, camera, and mobile devices up to 70 percent faster than Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and WordPress — runs on the company’s owned and operated network of datacenters. It supports uploads via a range of methods and mediums, including a drag-and-drop web interface; mobile and desktop clients; file transfer protocol (FTP); third-party apps like Photo Mechanic; and Adobe Creative Cloud apps like Lightroom, InDesign, and Photoshop. Files transferred to Libris (along with their associated EXIF and IPTC metadata) become instantly viewable in a thumbnail-populated dashboard with a built-in media player.
Within Libris, files can copied and pasted, virtually linked, or organized into an endless number of nested collections and galleries. Libris’ robust permission management system prevents unauthorized people or parties from seeing and downloading assets, and its keyword-based search tool surfaces assets by file type, date range, location, or even orientation.
Other spotlight features include watermarking, single sign-on, and image rights management.
Fingerman says that PhotoShelter’s content collaboration tools will get a revamp in the coming months, as will the mobile apps and API. “This is a crucial moment for the company as we look to build our talented team, relocate our headquarters, and expand our offerings in the market,” he said. “We are excited to get to work.”
“Right now, we’re witnessing an outright explosion in the volume of visual content employed by brands to engage their audiences,” said Level Structured Capital’s Barry Osherow. “The team at PhotoShelter has built standout expertise in managing visual content at a massive scale, initially serving the community of independent creators, and now they’ve built on that heritage to offer a very powerful solution to brands. We’re thrilled to be the financing partner behind the continued expansion of their platform.”
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