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

Developer Facetune Light tricks, which operates more than a dozen subscription-based photo and video editing apps on iOS and Android, now has $ 130 million in new funding to further grow its business. The company’s recently announced Series D round includes $ 100 million in primary financing and $ 30 million in secondary financing, and now values ​​the company at $ 1.8 billion. To date, Lightricks has raised $ 335 million.

The new round was co-led by New York-based venture capital firm Insight Partners and Hanaco Venture Capital and includes new investors Migdal Insurance, Altshuler Shaham and Shavit Capital. Existing investors Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Clal Tech, Harel Insurance and Finance and Greycroft also participated.

The last round of financing the company was its pre-pandemic. $ 135 million raised, who coined the company as a unicorn.

Based in Jerusalem, Lightricks has been best known for its Facetune photo-editing app, which puts Photoshop-like retouching tools in the hands of consumers. The app quickly gained traction as online influencers tweaked their Instagram photos to look more polished, honed, and flawless. However, this growth was not without controversy, as some argued how image editing applications such as Facetune took airbrushing too far, contributing to body image problems that now, Facebook’s internal investigation indicates, could have a negative effect on the mental health of adolescents.

But Facetune was just the beginning of what has since become a mobile publishing empire for Lightricks, at a time when everyone is trying to look their best online and create engaging content. Over the years, the company has developed More powerful Facetune 2, With other creativity and mobile photo apps they weren’t focused on selfies. It also expanded its product line beyond the multitude of creators to bring a set of tools to online marketers and small businesses. And last year, Lightricks responded more directly to the growth of online video as a form of self-expression with a new selfie retouching tool called Facetune Video – essentially the Facetune for the TikTok era.

Image credits: Light tricks

The company also benefited from the Covid-19 shutdowns as more people participated online and the creators, as a group, established themselves as a way for brands to reach consumers. During blackout spikes, the company saw a 90% increase in the use of its applications in the US Meanwhile, downloads of its popular Videoleap video editing applications increased 70% since the start of the pandemic. , as the adoption of TikTok also grew.

In its suite of applications, the company now promotes 29 million monthly active users, where more than 5 million are paid subscribers. Its users average around 78 million monthly exports, indicating the considerable impact of Lightricks on the creator’s economy. In 2021, Lightricks is on track to rake in more than $ 200 million in revenue and plans to increase that figure by 40% in the next year.

To do this, the company’s strategy will change. Instead of simply developing your own applications, you are now on the hunt for potential acquisitions.

“Our plan is to become a one-stop-shop creator platform, supporting creators throughout their journey, from content creation to monetization,” says Zeev Farbman, CEO and co-founder of Lightricks. “To do so, we are expanding our acquisitions activity, while developing other services internally; our overall M&A goal is to advance our shift to the creator platform. For starters, we are planning between three and five acquisitions, each with a budget of tens of millions of dollars. However, we are also attentive to larger agreements if there is sufficient conviction from both parties, ”he says.

Image credits: Light tricks

The company will also enhance its own technology to develop tools and services that will help all creators with content production and monetization, and will grow their team.

Lightricks currently has 460 employees and plans to add 60 more by the end of 2021. The long-term goal is to grow the team to 1,000 employees by the end of 2023, in roles that include developers, designers and marketing. While most of this growth to date has taken place in Jerusalem, over the next two years the company plans to grow its teams locally in Haifa, as well as internationally in London and Shenzhen. You can also add other locations through mergers and acquisitions.

The UK office is now the largest outside of Lightricks headquarters, with 23 people. This number is expected to rise to 35 by the end of the year and approach 50 or 60 by the end of 2022, with growth focused on the production of the company’s new photography app plus the marketing and customer experience teams. who were previously only in Israel. .

In the US, Lightricks focuses on content.

“Our US-based business will primarily focus on our content efforts that will provide a wide range of original, acquired and co-produced content to inspire, educate and entertain creators throughout their careers,” Farbman notes. “This includes written, video, audio, short and long form content, fun and informative,” he says.

Investors say they see the potential for Lightricks to continue to grow as the creator economy is booming.

“The creative economy has changed the way we as a society experience social media,” said Pasha Romanovski, co-founding partner of Hanaco Ventures, in a statement. “Audiences constantly consume information through the different content channels on a daily basis. The Lightricks platform enables creators to have a broader, more professional, and higher-quality set of tools to optimize content. At a time when we see content creators monetize content on social media to new levels, it is clear that the Lightricks platform has the ability to create a one-stop shop that will be meaningful to its users, ”he added.


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