The mobile stock photography business is getting an increasing amount of attention these days. A few weeks ago, Finland’s Scoopshot got $1.2 million in funding and Germany’s EyeEm (an Instagram rival that’s gearing up to enter the stock photo biz) raised a fresh $6 million. Now Foap, the Swedish startup that’s been helping users sell their iPhone photos for over a year now, has pulled in $1.5 million.
The money, which comes from Swedish Industrifonden and Maxwell Ventures, will be used to boost the sales team and open a Foap office in New York for a U.S. push.
On a mission
So where does Foap’s revenue come from, apart from taking a cut of stock photo sales? (Although 5.7 million images have been uploaded so far, Foap is unfortunately a bit opaque when it comes to quantifying actual $10-per-shot sales.)
As with its rivals, Foap runs so-called “missions” for brands – the brands come along and say they want such-and-such an image for their content marketing campaign; they set a reward for the winning shot; and those of Foap’s users who are able to comply set off to make some cash.
This is what the New York office will be for: to establish more brand partnerships. Brands that have already launched Foap Mission include Mango, Puma, Lavazza, Rebtel and VisitSweden.
According to Foap CEO David Los, the outfit already has 575,000 users around the world – about twice the number the largely mission-focused Scoopshot has. “We are much more social,” he claimed, adding: “We have a much higher reward per mission. It goes from $50 and up. Puma was running a photo mission where they for instance gave $2,000 in rewards. [Scoopshot] have $2.50 in rewards.” Even if Foap users’ photos don’t win the big reward for a mission, they still stand the chance of being sold for inclusion in the brand’s image library at a rate of $10 ($5 of which goes to the user).
Foap is still an iOS-only affair, but its Android app is scheduled to launch in September — a move that should bring in many more potential users. That said, EyeEm’s stock photo marketplace will also launch later this year, and EyeEm has the photos of 10 million existing users to exploit. Who knows how the landscape will look by the year’s end?
What’s clear is that this is a very young market that will only develop as smartphone cameras improve. The question is whether this evolution will bring with it a wide range of buyers willing to pony up for a handset snap, or whether branded missions – a lucrative but limited market – will remain the big cash generator.