PicHit.Me, a Swedish startup which was founded back in 2012, has differentiated itself in the online photo marketplace space by collaborating with the likes of Microsoft, Nokia and UKTI to target its marketplace at office workers.
Instead of trying to disrupt the PowerPoint dinosaur, PicHit.Me is aiming to build a business off of the back of office workers’ continued dependence on Microsoft’s presentation software. And specifically out of their need to spice up dull slideshows with relevant and interesting imagery.
So really PicHit.Me is aiming to disrupt casual theft of images from places like Google Images — by providing a legitimate place for people to locate photos to illustrate their presentations, and also to help them track down very specific images by sending a “mission” request to the global network of photographers powering PicHit.Me’s photo marketplace.
Co-founders Mathias Björkholm, Henrik Bergqvist and Mattias Brodén describe PicHit.Me’s main competitors as “ignorance, Google and Bing”, and condense the problem it’s tackling down to a biggie: “fighting image piracy”.
“We are giving the normal user of photos a simple and understandable license to use the photo,” they tell TechCrunch, adding: “Get inspired, get informed and get the right photo, with the right intellectual property rights from the crowd.”
Targeting the enterprise to make digital photograph pay is a savvy strategy, being as businesses are likely to have concerns about the implications of copyright infringing behaviour among their staff bouncing back on the business as a whole. Much easier for a company to stump up for a $15 per user monthly subscription to PicHit.Me’s marketplace so staff stop nicking pictures. (There is also a freemium option, with restrictions such as photo requests taking longer to be delivered.)
PicHit.Me’s photo marketplace is open to anyone to create photo assignments and to anyone to contribute photos and be rewarded for work that gets used. Its service can be used via web, through PowerPoint, or via Microsoft’s Windows phone mobile OS platform (hence the Nokia portion of PicHit.Me’s collaborations).
There are different ways for photographers to earn money via the marketplace — including a competition element where you can get a set amount if your image is the one chosen by the user.
There’s also a basic reward level for those photographers actively contributing to PicHit.Me (which means uploading one photo per month and logging in more than 10 times per month) whereby contributors equally share 20% of the total subscription revenue. PicHit.Me takes 40% of these revenues, and the final 40% is apportioned based on how much an individual photographer’s images are used.
Thus far, PicHit.Me’s founders said each product/feature on the marketplace has attracted “some ten thousands users”.
Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Tarja zu them Berge, Fund Manager at Almi Invest, said: “PicHit.Me will be our next Swedish innovation export. They carry out a paradigm shift by offering a global network for photographers and users. PicHit.Me breaks old patterns and alter behaviour in a positive way.”