Auckland-based photo software startup Narrative raises $2.58 million led by Founders Fund

For many freelance photographers, marketing their businesses and editing photos takes as much time, if not much more, than photoshoots. Founded in 2017, Auckland-based Narrative helps professional photographers with tools including a website builder and Narrative Select, an AI-based tool that identifies the best frames from a shoot, cutting down the amount of time it takes to go through hundreds or thousands of shots.

The company announced today that it has raised $2.58 million in seed funding led by Founders Fund, with participation from Icehouse Ventures.

The company said its website software, Narrative Publish, is currently used by tens of thousands of photographers. Part of the new funding will be used to market Narrative Select, which is available on a subscription basis, and build its user base as photographers around the world seek to recover from the the impact of COVID-19. The company says it has seen an increase in inquiries about Narrative Select because photographers still need to edit photo shoots taken before stay-at-home orders were implemented.

Narrative is also recruiting tech talent from the United States and United Kingdom to work at its offices in New Zealand, which is gaining more interest as an immigration destination because of its success in containing the spread of COVID-19.

Narrative Select uses machine learning to flag photos as desirable or undesirable, focusing in particular on people in the photo. For example, if a subject is blurry or their eyes are closed, the photo is flagged as undesirable. The company says Narrative typically tags 30% of photos in a batch as undesirable, making the editing process faster for photographers. Narrative Select will be expanded to cover fashion, commercial and lifestyle photography, too.