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



Developer Facetune Lightricks, which operates more than a dozen subscription photo and video editing apps on iOS and Android, now has $ 130 million in new funding to further develop its business. The company’s recently announced Series D funding round includes $ 100 million in primary funding and $ 30 million in secondary funding, 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 company’s last round of funding was its $ 135 million raise before the pandemic, which made the company a unicorn.

Jerusalem-based Lightricks is best known for its photo editing app Facetune, which puts Photoshop-like editing tools in the hands of consumers. The app quickly gained traction as online influencers tweaked their Instagram photos to make them more polished, polished, and flawless. However, this growth has not been without controversy, as some have explained that image editing apps like Facetune pushed the airbrush too far, contributing to body image issues which now Facebook’s internal search indicates, could have a negative effect on adolescent mental health.

But Facetune was just the start of what has since become a mobile editing empire for Lightricks, at a time when everyone is trying to be their best online and create compelling content. Over the years, the company has rolled out the more powerful Facetune 2, along with other mobile creativity and photo apps that weren’t focused on selfies. It has also expanded its product line beyond the designer crowd to bring a suite 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 editing tool called Facetune Video – essentially the Facetune for the TikTok era.

Image credits: Lightricks

The company has also benefited from the Covid-19 lockdowns, as more people have participated online and creators, as a group, have become more established as a way for brands to reach consumers. During lockdown peaks, the company saw a 90% increase in its app usage in the United States. Meanwhile, downloads of its popular Videoleap video editing apps have jumped 70% since the start of the pandemic, while TikTok adoption has also increased.

In its suite of apps, the company now has 29 million monthly active users, of which more than 5 million are paid subscribers. Its users average around 78 million monthly exports, indicating the huge impact Lightricks has on the creator economy. In 2021, Lightricks is on track for more than $ 200 million in revenue and plans to increase that figure by 40% in the coming year.

To do this, the company’s strategy will change. Instead of just developing its own applications, it is now looking for potential acquisitions.

“Our plan is to become a one-stop-shop creation platform, supporting creators along their journey from content creation to monetization,” said Zeev Farbman, CEO and co-founder of Lightricks. “To do this, we are expanding our acquisition activity, while developing other internal services. To begin with, we anticipate between three and five acquisitions, each with a budget of several tens of millions of dollars. However, we are also looking for larger ticket offers if there is enough conviction on both sides, ”he notes.

Image credits: Lightricks

The company will also improve its own technology to develop tools and services that will help all creators in the production and monetization of content, and it will grow its team.

Currently, Lightricks has 460 employees and plans to add 60 more by the end of 2021. The longer term goal is to grow the team to 1,000 employees by the end of 2023, in roles including 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. It can also add other locations through mergers and acquisitions.

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

In the United States, Lightricks is focused on content.

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

Investors say they see the potential for Lightricks to continue to grow as the designer economy booms.

“The designer economy has changed the way we as a company experience social media,” Pasha Romanovski, co-founding partner of Hanaco Ventures, said in a statement. “The public consumes information daily through the various content channels. Lightricks’ platform gives creators a larger, more professional, and better set of tools for optimizing content. At a time when we see content creators monetizing social media content to new levels, it is clear that Lightricks’ platform has the ability to create a one-stop shop that will be meaningful to its users, ”a- he added.



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