In Frontpage Featured Content, Mobile, News

By Hans Hartman

[Scroll down for And a few more things… industry news highlights]

Congratulations to our friends from Magisto, who announced yesterday that they have been acquired by streaming video platform, Vimeo, for a reported $200M.

Magisto has raised nearly $23 million in venture capital over time from investors that include SanDisk Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures, but it hasn’t raised any funding since 2014 (hint: they’re probably profitable). Magisto has an estimated 100 million users and employs a team of about 75, of which 90 percent are based in Israel.

Alexis and I have had the pleasure of having CMO Reid Genauer and CEO Oren Boiman speak at Visual 1st (then still called Mobile Photo Connect) in 2014 and 2015 respectively, when they were still an early startup.

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What contributed to their success?

First, Magisto was an early developer of an AI-based app at a time when AI was still mostly confined to the area of image recognition (tagging of images). Magisto’s app goes beyond that. It infers the mood portrayed in a user’s photos, then adds appropriate music and creates a video clip that matches the photos’ content.

Second, after some tweaking that took several years, Magisto optimized its business model, which now includes a starter package for consumers and a richer feature set plus higher price point for small businesses. In addition to a free trial, it now offers three tiers of service, priced at $4.99, $9.99 and $34.99 per month.

The company saw over 100 percent revenue growth in 2018, and the bulk of it came from business subscribers (versus consumer subscribers).

In other words, having great technology is one; having the right growth & monetization strategy is another. Having both makes you an acquisition target.

And a few more things…

PinterestPinterest pre-IPO valuation puts it at $11.6B. Not bad for a social photo sharing platform.

DJI. We covered the DJI Osmo Pocket earlier as an innovative 3-axis handheld camera. But what is a camera without accessories? Tiffen now offers a filter kit.

VSCO & PicsArt. Two former Visual 1st presenters are at war: VSCO sues PicsArt over photo filters that were allegedly reverse engineered.

Pixsy & Flickr. Two former Visual 1st presenters are partnering: Last year’s Special Recognition Award winner Pixsy is partnering with Flickr to offer photographers a fully integrated end-to-end solution to legally protect their work from image theft.

Explorest. Explorest, an app that offers photographers tips and tricks for taking photos in various cities, has expanded to New York. Explorest delivers 125+ photo location insights across New York, curated by 19 renowned photographers.

Jack Daniels. Yes, Jack Daniels is going AR. The company just launched an AR Experience app developed by Tactic. The company’s turns the classic black-and-white front label of any Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey bottle into a matching pop-up book, educating consumers about the company and brand.

Oppo. This company keeps cranking out camera-focused smartphones that work in smart ways around the limitations posed by the phone’s inherently small form factor. The Reno 5G has a camera and flash placed on a wedge that pops out of the phone’s innards. Its three rear cameras cover an equivalent focal length ranging from 16mm to 160mm, thus offering 10x hybrid zoom.

Black hole. Some got excited about the proof of the black hole; others about what was all involved in taking the first photo of it. For the latter: the effort wouldn’t have been possible without Katie Bouman, who led the creation of an algorithm that eventually helped capture this first-of-its-kind image.


Visual 1st. October 3-4, 2019, San Francisco. Buy your VIP Early Bird Access ticket now!

Acquired past Visual 1st presenters: Magisto (by Vimeo), Athentech (by EyeQ), Regaind (by Apple), Kite (by Canon), Orbeus (by Amazon), Looksery (by Snapchat), Aviary (by Adobe), Piqora (by Olapic/Monotype)

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Hans Hartman

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