When Foap first launched its iPhone app and markeplace to let users upload and sell their photos, it relied on a manual approval process designed to keep the quality high in a bid to give the traditional stock photography market a run for its money. But, should the app really take off, it was an approach that was never likely to scale. And so it is that 1.4 million photo uploads and 150k app downloads later, Foap is turning to the crowd to approve photos submitted for sale.
Meanwhile, to further help it scale, the Swedish company is announcing a new round of funding: $500k from Asia’s Jade Global Investments. This brings the total capital raised so far to approximately $900k.
Launched just shy of 5 months ago in the U.S. and UK, Foap lets users upload their photos to the startup’s marketplace where they can be purchased for $10 each, with revenue split 50/50 between the photographer and Foap. However, until now, each submission had to be approved for sale by the company itself, an arduous and expensive process. By turning that process over to the crowd, it sets up Foap nicely to scale, while its user-base is now at a size to make community policing possible. Users get to rate each submission and after five submissions, any photo that gets 2.5 stars or more is automatically approved.
In addition to tweaking its model, Foap has rolled out a sort of friends affiliate scheme in which users are being enticed to invite their friends to download the app and sign up to Foap in return for earning 10% of any future sales from the photos those friends upload.
As for where Foap is heading next, I’m told that in January the company will be launching a “photo missions” feature in which brands can put a call out for specific photo submissions on Foap and on their Facebook page (strikingly similar to that of EyeEm, although here users will actually get paid). The aim is to enable brands to build their own exclusive image libraries to be used in their marketing, whilst at the same time increasing engagement by rewarding users. Companies who take advantage of this feature will be charged a monthly fee for using the platform.