PICT, a San Francisco-based startup that has built a “shoppable photo” technology platform for brands and retailers that embeds smart watermarks into images, is emerging a bit out of stealth mode today with the beta launch of the newest version of its iPhone and web apps.
The company, which we first met as “Dropt” when it graduated out of the AngelPad accelerator last year, is also announcing today that it has raised $1.4 million in seed funding. PICT’s investors include some big names in the tech and retail worlds: Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, Kirsten Green’s Forerunner Ventures, New York fashion designer and businessman Steven Alan, Opus Capital, AngelPad, 500 Startups, Gary Vaynerchuk, Scott Belsky, and Seth Berman, among others.
PICT’s co-founder and CEO Brent Locks said in an interview this week that PICT is a B2B publishing and analytics platform that lets brands create “shoppable” photos that can be shared freely across social networks yet still easily bring interested customers click back to where they can make an online purchase. “We integrate with systems like the Magentos of the world, to let product tagging be as simple as tagging people on Facebook,” said Locks, who co-founded PICT with CCO Kele Dobrinski.
PICT currently has a staff of five, and Locks says the new funding will be put toward expanding headcount along with product development including the building of more premium features.
According to Locks, PICT is differentiated from other players in the shoppable images space in large part by its mobile-first focus. “We’re the only one that’s out there in the interactive photo tagging space that is mobile first, as far as I know. We didn’t want to build something with all these bells and whistles and try to figure out how to do mobile subsequently,” he said. “We saw that brands were creating more and more content via mobile devices.”
The product has been used by more than 30 brands in a private beta that’s been running up until now, and the expanded beta launch today means that more brands and retailers can sign up to try out PICT here. Those who participate in the beta will have access to a few new features debuting today, including an overhauled iPhone app for brands, the ability to embed shoppable PICT photos inside Facebook news feed, and e-commerce integrations with Etsy, Shopify, Magento, Demandware, and other e-commerce platforms.
Ultimately, PICT’s team is looking to build a platform that is aimed at the full spectrum of brands in the world, who want to sell things from clothing to food to home goods. “We want to be helpful to billion-dollar businesses down to individual Etsy sellers,” Locks told me. “Our heart is with creatives and makers.” It’s a solid mission, and that along with its savvy investor team and slick-looking technology should make PICT a good company to watch.