Berlin-based startup Roombeats, which offers publishers and bloggers affiliate marketing opportunities via (rights-cleared) pictures — and brands the chance to drive sales through click-throughs driven by these interactive images – has raised a €500,000 ($666,000) seed round from VC firms Creathor Venture and High Tech Gruenderfonds.
Roombeats was founded in April last year by Markus Berger-de Léon, formerly CEO of Jamba, MyHammer and StudiVZ, and Florian Beba, previously Head of User Experience at Zalando. Berger-de Léon told TechCrunch it plans to use the seed funding to continue developing its technology, and also for a sales and marketing push.
The basic premise of Roombeats’ business is that sexy-looking images placed in prominent positions on websites are a more effective type of marketing than annoying online banner ads which users tend to tune out.
Its software turns illustrative, rights-cleared images into interactive adverts, allowing website users to hover over a virtual tag or information symbol embedded in an image to glean details about specific products and a direct link to where they can purchase an item — circumventing the need for them to go on lengthy online hunts to track down where to buy that cool stick of furniture they saw on their favourite interior design blog.
The startup describes its software as enabling “interactive display windows”. These ad-infested images can be shared by viewers to their social networks — allowing marketing content to spread beyond the initial point of publication, thereby driving more clicks (or that’s the theory).
There’s some similarities between Roombeats and Israeli startup Imonomy, which makes software that analyses webpages and automatically inserts relevant, copyright-free images to accompany the content — images that are monetised via ads that appear when the user hovers over the image. Both startups are using free images as a sweetener to encourage publishers to sign up to their affiliate marketing schemes. And both also offer revenue-share on resulting click-throughs.
However Roombeats looks to be focused on embedding marketing content more deeply into the images, via interactive price-tags and the like. It is also offering the brands and manufacturers using its system analytics on the performance of their product images, such as real-time click through rates. Imonomy also uses stock images vs Roombeats working directly with brands to “enrich” their own product images.
Commenting on the investment in a statement, Marvin Andrä, Investment Manager at HTGF, said: “Roombeats’ concept creates real monetary value for manufacturers as well as publishers and this fits perfectly into our investment strategy.”