Picsart, a mobile photo-editing app, to raise $15 million
Mobile photo editing app Picsart is about to raise $15 million in new funding, which values the three-year-old startup at $250 million, Fortune has learned. Previous investor Sequoia is included in the round, but is not the lead investor.
Picsart has flown relatively under the radar, but has quietly amassed 250 million downloads for its iOS and Android apps. The company reportedly is seeing 60 million monthly active users. It raised $10 million in funding from Sequoia Capital in late 2014.
Founded in Armenia by Hovhannes Avoyan, Picsart bootstrapped itself for the first two years, launching on Android-based phones before those with iOS. Like Facebook-owned photo sharing app Instagram, users can take pictures from their mobile phone and share them. But Picsart goes beyond Instagram’s filters to allow users to collaborate and edit images together. It’s more of a cross between Instagram and Adobe Photoshop.
Unike Instagram, the startup has embraced advertising from the start. In addition to native ad support, Picsart allows users to make purchases within the app, such as buying fonts or other tools. The company has also partnered with brands such as American Express (AXP) and Sony Music (SNE) for sponsored content.
While most of the app’s users are in Europe, Latin America and North America, a quarter of Picsart’s community is based in Asia. The company recently hired as chief revenue officer ex-Zynga executive Wilson Kriegel, who managed revenue for viral game DrawSomething. Picsart is profitable.
Could Picsart be the next Instagram? Instagram was able to create a community around sharing beautiful photos on your mobile phone. Picsart attempts to take this a step further with collaboration. The market is currently saturated with photo sharing apps, and many startups have tried to replicate Instagram’s virality but haven’t been able to recreate a $1 billion acquisition to Facebook.
What’s in Piscart favor is that the app has quietly created an engaged user base around editing and republishing photos. The app will be adding video editing skills soon, Fortune also learned. And its nearly 300 million downloads—impressive for any app—has come from word of mouth, the company says.
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