Foap

Calling All iPhoneographers — Foap Wants To Get You Paid

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Did you know that the word iPhoneography has its own Wikipedia entry? Me neither (look quick before it gets deleted). It’s the art of creating photos with an Apple iPhone, apparently — a phenomenon that a new Swedish startup hopes to cash in on by enabling iPhoneographers to do the same.

Launching its iPhone app officially in the US and UK today, Foap lets users upload their photos to the startup’s marketplace where they can be purchased for $10 a pop, with revenue split 50/50 between the photographer and Foap.

Interestingly, photos uploaded have to be manually approved first to ensure that the quality remains high and that there is market demand, and refreshingly, heavy Instagram filters and the like are strictly banned. Sorry, Hipsters.

On the buyer side, Foap competes broadly with stock photo services such as istockphoto.com, GettyImages, 123RF.com, and Fotolia — while, specifically, the startup is targeting companies that need to find natural looking photos with a “local feeling” for commercial or editorial purposes. These could be publishers looking to use photos in a story or brands needing imagery for an ad or promotional campaign.

And by focussing on smartphone photos, Foap hopes to achieve differentiation with a constant inflow of photos which the company says is something that is missing in the current stock photo market.

To that end, users can specify the type of use when they upload a photo — editorial and/or commercial — and are asked to tag each picture to ensure that it can be easily discovered via the Foap market.

Meanwhile, its model has already been tested. Foap made its debut in its native country of Sweden on May 15th this year and has seen 10,000 iPhone app downloads, and 41,800 photos uploaded with 16,500 being approved for sale. How many photos have been sold, however, the company isn’t saying, although revenue from sales since last month is just over $5k.

Foap is founded by David Los and Alexandra Bylund. Los has plenty of startup experience, most recently as co-founder of social travel site Tripl.com (part of the accelerator program Dream It Ventures). Byland has a background in ecommerce and has also worked as a journalist for Sweden’s largest newspaper, Aftonbladet (yes, another journo-turned-entrepreneur).

The company is backed to the tune of $230k and is currently fundraising. Investors include Roland Zeller, Founder of Travel Window and also an investor in GetYourGuide, and Sami Douz, a professional poker player. I wonder who blinked first.