PicsArt Raises $15M To Build A Community Around Photo Editing


PicsArt, a photo-sharing service that’s building a community around creatively editing pictures, has raised $15 million in a venture round led by Insight Venture Partners with Sequoia Capital also contributing.

Like Visual Supply Co. and EyeEm, PicsArt is asking investors to put in money on the basis of its ability to get users to share and engage with art from their mobile devices. In a recent chat, PicsArt Chief Business Development Officer Wilson Kriegel told TechCrunch, “We deliver a single value proposition, supporting all creatives in a simplistic way. Instead of a singular functionality, we brought a suite of tools and a community around it.”

That focus plays into how the startup monetizes and organizes its community. One way the company makes money, for instance, is to charge brands and creative agencies to run contests around particular themes or using particular tools (which can bring in secondary revenue if they require the use of tools available as in-app purchases).

Kriegel says PicsArt’s main feed also acts as a discovery engine, making it ripe for app install ads and sponsored content. It’s here that the limits of PicsArt’s tag-based targeting become apparent. Instead of seeing ads for movies I might like or apps that might match my interests, as is the case on Twitter or Facebook, when I scroll through my PicsArt feed I see ads ranging from poor clickbait (like those “around the web” ads at the bottom of some blogs)…

PicsArt sponsored content

… to gross links like this:

PicsArt sponsored content

PicsArt originally launched on Android, and 80% of its 65 million users are still on Google’s operating system. But Kriegel says the startup is investing in growth on iOS, with approximately 100 people at the company in R&D, backend, and product engineering roles.

Leena Rao first reported on the round over at Fortune, noting that the funding valued PicsArt at approximately $250 million. While he was able to confirm the size of the round to TechCrunch, Kriegel declined to comment on the startup’s current valuation.