Image rights start-up wins funding boost

Sarah StenhouseImage source, Pixey
Image caption,
The company was founded by Instagram user Sarah Stenhouse

A Scottish start-up that aims to help broadcasters and publishers obtain the digital rights to Instagram photographs has secured £243,000 in seed funding.

Edinburgh-based will use the cash to hire five new staff and develop artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help source images.

The company was set up by Instagram user Sarah Stenhouse.

She developed her business idea while trying to source an image in her former role at an advertising agency.

The company contacts photographers posting on Instagram to request use of their images. It then arranges copyright and payment.

Equity Gap, Gabriel and Scottish Investment Bank have invested a total of £213,000 in the business, with a further £30,000 from Robin Knox and Paul Walton of Intelligent Point of Sale.

'Huge for us'

Ms Stenhouse said: "The business has been growing steadily but this funding is huge for us and will move us on far more quickly than we could have otherwise.

"We can now bring in AI technology to effectively source images as well as boosting our profile in the US and Europe.

"We want to create a community with our photographers and provide a mixture of lifestyle and business content.

"Moving away from traditional staged stock photography, we supply real photos that are creative and more interesting visually."

Before launching, Sarah worked with clients including Skyscanner, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish government and Vets Now.

Fraser Lusty, from Equity Gap, said: "The stock photography market is estimated to be worth $3bn annually.

"Sarah has identified many areas where could grow and the company is already making headway in providing a creative service that benefits broadcasters and publishers."

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