Luminate, a photo tagging service that has been called an “AdSense for Images,” has raised $10.7 million in Series C funding led by Nokia Growth Partners with participation from existing investors August Capital, CMEA Capital, Google Ventures and Shasta Ventures. With this new round of financing, Nokia Growth Partners, Managing Partner Paul Asel will join Luminate’s Board of Directors.
Luminate, which rebranded from Pixazza last year, allows publishers to identify, tag and match products found within online images on their sites and then link them back to the inventories of Luminate’s network of advertisers. The service, which can be integrated in a site by adding a single line of code, allows consumers to browse the photos featured on a site and mouse over it to reveal information and pricing about similar products, and if desired, click to purchase.
Last year, Luminate debuted in-image applications, which allowed publishers to make images even more interactive and engaging. So when a consumer sees the Luminate icon in the corner of an image, it indicates that the image is interactive. Consumers can mouse into the image and choose from a variety of image apps. These could include the ability to share an image or link to Twitter, discover statistics about their favorite athletes, see where to purchase similar products to those featured in a photo, access more information about a particular event, read more content about the people or places featured in an image, listen to music or see a movie trailer related to an image.
Today, Luminate is debuting an Image App Store to provide a central location for publishers to browse and choose the specific image apps they wish to leverage for their sites. Luminate also released eleven new image apps, including those for Causes, Netflix, and Wikipedia, designed specifically for interacting with the trillions of images across the web.
The Image App Store runs on the Luminate platform, which allows consumers to launch applications within individual images on their favorite websites. The apps available on the Luminate platform allow consumers to conduct their everyday online activities such as shopping, sharing, commenting and navigating directly from images, as well as to facilitate entirely new services made possible by the development of apps specifically for images.
Through the company’s network of publishers, Luminate now reaches more than 150 million unique users per month, and is seeing a rate of 30 billion image views per year. Luminate currently works with over 7,000 publishers, including Us Weekly, Hearst Digital Media and Access Hollywood.
“The most successful technologies are ultimately platforms,” explains Luminate CEO, Bob Lisbonne. “We were the first to introduce interactive image apps, and the image app store is the logical next step. He tells us that this year, Luminate will expand its platform to third-party developers with an API.
Lisbonne adds the new funding will be used for product development, to expand the startup’s publisher network and broaden its relationships with brand advertisers.