Sydney-based start-up ImageBrief is in the process of setting up a New York office as it seeks to become the “99designs for photography”, after securing $600,000 from angel investors.
Led by chief executive Simon Moss, ImageBrief is an online marketplace that connects image buyers with a global network of professional photographers.
Buyers post a ‘brief’ for an image requirement and photographers submit images that are tailored for the buyer’s request. ImageBrief then takes a commission from each transaction.
It launched in private beta in June 2011.
After pitching at an “angel dinner” hosted by investment network Innovation Bay, ImageBrief raised $600,000 from five unnamed angel investors.
Moss believes ImageBrief was attractive to investors because it operates in a global marketplace, and some of the technology risk has already been taken out.
He says the funds have been used for software development, growing the company’s engineering team, and marketing efforts.
“Because of the size of the market, we had to be careful about how we spend our money. It’s like, how do you eat the elephant and where do you start?” Moss says.
“We’re setting up a New York office because we’re targeting advertising agencies and publishing companies,” Moss says.
“New York is the epicentre of the world in terms of marketing, so we have to be there.”
Moss says the company has undergone a rebrand in order to give it a more global appeal.
“Companies like Apple and Airbnb are very schmick in terms of their image. We didn’t want to look out of place if we walked into an agency in New York or London,” he says.
“Our mantra was we don’t want to look out of place in their office, so we needed to ramp up the branding by making it more colourful.”
With regard to Innovation Bay, Moss says he was “blown away” by how supportive the network is, particularly when it was time to pitch.
“I really expected to be in the stocks with cakes thrown at me – something like Dragon’s Den. It wasn’t like that at all,” he says.
“In terms of the pitch, it was seven minutes – an intense moment for any entrepreneur who has spent the last two years producing a product… But it was a very positive experience.”
“Generally I found the investors there were very supportive and very complementary to what we’d done so far. I received a lot of business cards from people willing to help.”