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Scoopshot, The On-Demand Photography Marketplace, Raises $1.2M From World’s “Top Selling” Stock Photographer

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The advent of smartphones with decent cameras and ubiquitous connectivity has set the scene for disruption in the ‘stock photography’ industry and other suppliers of photo content, such as news-driven picture agencies. Not only does nearly everybody have a camera in their pocket at all times, but that connectivity enables photos to be shared the minute they’ve been taken, leading to content that is ‘fresh’, while on the supply side, photos can be requested on-demand based on location and/or a time sensitive brief.

Enter Scoopshot, the crowdsourced on-demand photography marketplace and accompanying smartphone app, which today is announcing $1.2 million in new funding, adding to the €4.5 million previously raised, including a €1 million grant from Finnish Technology Fund. Meanwhile, the Helsinki-headquartered startup says it will use the funding to “accelerate” international growth with a focus on the U.K., U.S. and German markets.

Interestingly, the fresh injection of capital comes from Yuri Arcurs, described as “the world’s top selling stock photographer”, and somebody who sells one photo ever 8 seconds, apparently. If anybody knows how to potentially disrupt the stock photography industry, said to be worth $2.88 billion by some estimates, perhaps this guy is it.

Launched in Finland in February 2011, with a global roll out the following January, Scoopshot’s crowdsourced photography marketplace appears to have its roots in encouraging users to upload and sell photo (and video) eye-witness reports and other newsworthy and timely content, pitting it against traditional picture agencies and citizen journalism style news services such as U.K.-based Blottr’s recently launched News Point.

However, with today’s funding announcement, the company is emphasising new features that create what is essentially a reverse marketplace for stock and other types of timely photography, giving an on-demand element to the photos it sells. This lets buyers create local, national and global photo “assignments”, which users then respond to by taking and uploading photos that (hopefully) meet the brief and get a cut of any subsequent revenue generated if the photo is bought. Of course, the lines between stock and news photography are somewhat blurred, and Scoopshot says that so far its primary target sector has been media, and continues to be so.

Here, direct competitors include Foap, which recently introduced “missions” to its crowdsourced and smartphone-based photography marketplace, or U.S.-based Rawporter. Instagram competitor EyeEm also has photo-missions, though users currently don’t get paid, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see that change. (Update: EyeEm is indeed flicking the switch on its marketplace.)

In term of pricing, location-based local tasks can be created by interested buyers for free, with national and global tasks available for a small fee. And rather cleverly, if photo buyers want to send a push-notification to photographers in a specific location alerting them of the task, this also involves a small charge. As does extending the duration of a task, or including a brand’s logo in the assignment.

All photos submitted are available to buy for $5 each, with the photographer getting a 50% cut. So far, brands that have already used Scoopshot to source photos on-demand include Oxfam, Malibu, Fiat, and Vogel’s.

To that end, Scoopshot claims a global network of 280,000+ mobile photographers, telling TechCrunch that the app has seen 283,000 downloads in 177 countries. Its largest user base is in Germany with 66,600 users, while 752,000 photos have been submitted, and of those 180,000 have been sold. The app’s top earner has earned €21,374 and 59 users have earned more than 1,000 Euros. That doesn’t sound too shabby, though clearly not yet on par with Mr Arcurs himself.