Facetune maker Lightricks raises $130 million ahead of M&A plans

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Facetune developer Lightricks, which operates greater than a dozen subscription-based photo- and video-editing apps across iOS and Android, now has $130 million in new funding to additional develop its business. The company’s newly introduced Collection D round consists of $100 million in main and $30 million in secondary funding, and now values the corporate at $1.eight billion. Up to now, Lightricks has raised $335 million.

The new round was co-led by New York-based VC agency Perception Companions and Hanaco Venture Capital and consists of new buyers Migdal Insurance coverage, Altshuler Shaham and Shavit Capital. Present buyers Goldman Sachs Asset Administration, Claltech, Harel Insurance and Finance, and Greycroft, additionally participated.

The corporate’s final round of funding was its pre-pandemic raise of $135 million, which minted the corporate as a unicorn.

Based mostly in Jerusalem, Lightricks has been greatest recognized for its photo-editing app Facetune, which places Photoshop-like retouching instruments into the arms of shoppers. The app shortly gained traction as on-line influencers tweaked their Instagram pictures to look extra polished, perfected and blemish-free. This progress wasn’t without controversy, nevertheless, as some argued how image-editing apps like Facetune took airbrushing too far, contributing to physique image points that now, Facebook’s internal research indicates, might have a damaging effect on youngsters’ psychological health.

But Facetune was solely the beginning for what’s since turn out to be a cellular modifying empire for Lightricks, at a time when everyone is making an attempt to look their greatest online and create compelling content material. Through the years, the corporate has rolled out the more powerful Facetune 2, together with other creativity and mobile photo apps that weren’t targeted on selfies. It also expanded its product lineup past the creator crowd to bring a suite of tools to online entrepreneurs and small companies. And final yr, Lightricks extra immediately responded to the expansion in online video as a type of self-expression with a new selfie retouching tool called Facetune Video — primarily Facetune for the TikTok era.

Picture Credit: Lightricks

The corporate benefitted from COVID-19 lockdowns, as properly, as more individuals participated online and creators, as a gaggle, turned extra well-established as a means for brands to succeed in shoppers. Throughout peak lockdowns, the corporate noticed a 90% improve in usage throughout its apps in the U.S. In the meantime, downloads for its widespread Videoleap video modifying apps jumped 70% because the start of the pandemic, as TikTok adoption additionally grew.

Throughout its suite of apps, the company now touts 29 million month-to-month lively users, the place over 5 million are paid subscribers. Its customers average round 78 million monthly exports, indicating Lightricks’ sizable influence on the creator financial system. In 2021, Lightricks is on monitor for over $200 million in income and plans to grow that figure by 40% within the yr ahead.

To do so, the company’s technique will change. As an alternative of simply creating its own apps, it’s now on the hunt for potential acquisitions.

“Our plan is to develop into a one-stop shop creator platform, supporting creators all through their journey, from content creation to monetization,” says Zeev Farbman, CEO and co-founder of Lightricks. “To take action, we're broadening our acquisition exercise, while creating other providers in-house — our general M&A objective is advancing our shift into the creator’s platform. To begin, we're planning between three to 5 acquisitions, every with a price range of tens of tens of millions of dollars. Nevertheless, we are additionally looking out for bigger ticket measurement offers if there's enough conviction on each side,” he notes.

Picture Credits: Lightricks

The company may also improve its personal know-how to develop tools and providers that may assist all creators with content production and monetization, and it'll grow its group.

Presently, Lightricks has 460 staff and plans to add 60 more by the top of 2021. The longer-term objective is to grow the group to 1,000 staff by the top of 2023, across roles that embrace developers, designers and advertising. Whereas most of this progress thus far has taken place in Jerusalem, over the subsequent two years, the company plans to develop its teams regionally in Haifa, as well as internationally in London and Shenzhen. It might add other places by way of M&As, as properly.

The U.Okay. workplace is now the most important outdoors of Lightricks’ headquarters, with 23 individuals. This quantity is predicted to climb to 35 by year-end and be closer to 50 or 60 by the top of 2022, with progress targeted on the production of the corporate’s new images app plus buyer expertise and advertising groups, which have been previously solely in Israel.

In the U.S., Lightricks is concentrated on content material.

“Our U.S.-based exercise will focus totally on our content material efforts that may provide an enormous array of unique, acquired and co-produced content material to inspire, educate and entertain creators across the whole thing of their careers,” notes Farbman. “This consists of written, video, audio, brief and long-form, enjoyable and informative content material,” he says.

Buyers say they see the potential for Lightricks to continue to develop because the creator financial system booms.

“The creator financial system has changed the best way we, as a society, experience social networks,” stated Pasha Romanovski, co-founding associate of Hanaco Ventures, in a press release. “Audiences always eat info by way of the totally different content channels every day. Lightricks’ platform allows creators to have a broader, more professional, and higher-quality set of instruments to optimize content material. At a time once we are seeing content creators monetize content on social media at new levels, it is clear that Lightricks’ platform has the power to create a one-stop shop that will probably be meaningful to its users,” he added.

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