An Edinburgh-based startup enabling broadcasters and publishers to obtain the digital rights to Instagram photographs has secured almost £250,000 in seed funding. Pixey.io, set up by Sarah Stenhouse, will use the cash injection to add five new members of staff over the next six months, introduce artificial intelligence technology, and grow its international profile.
Equity Gap, Gabriel and Scottish Investment Bank have invested a total of £213,000 with a further £30,000 from Robin Knox and Paul Walton, of Intelligent Point of Sale.
A long time user of Instagram, Stenhouse thought of her business idea of using photographs from the social network in 2015 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 and arranges copyright and payment.
Since launching, it has supplied a number of clients including a major high street bank and international advertising firm. Pixey.io was also a finalist in Deloitte’s Disrupt the Enterprise 2017 awards, recognising the most talented and disruptive tech start-ups.
“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,” said Stenhouse. “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 Pixey.io, she worked with clients including Skyscanner, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Government and Vets Now.
Fraser Lusty, of Equity Gap, said: “The stock photography market is estimated to be worth $3 billion annually. Sarah has identified many areas where Pixey.io could grow and the company is already making headway in providing a creative service that benefits broadcasters and publishers.”