London based startup photo agency Picfair has been officially launched this week after almost a year in Beta. Picfair founder Benji Lanyado, a former journalist for the Guardian and New York Times, learnt how to code on evening courses from coding class provider General Assembly. He built the site in five months, spending only £4,000.
The launch was announced with a seed round of £310,000 from some of the U.S. and U.K.’s leading tech angel investors, including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
They say: Picfair connects photographers directly to buyers, and takes a small (20%) commission on top of the photographers’ fee. Picfair gives photographers, both amateur and professional, full control control over pricing, and a significantly fairer cut. Its unique dynamic search algorithm adapts to reflect what people are looking at–and sharing–across the web, giving buyers a much broader range – from high-end DSLRs to Instagram shots.
“The whole industry is upside down–and has been for decades,” said founder and CEO Benji Lanyado. “The photographers who create the value get almost none of it. It’s entirely normal for their cut to be less than 20 per cent of the sale price.”
While the photographers’ share of profits is shrinking, the long tail of image demand gets longer by the year – the digital image market is estimated around $4.5bn, set to grow to $6 billion by 2016. “Every business is a publisher now,” said Lanyado, “and yet nobody is happy with the pricing models and the dull, cheesy offerings on the major stock sites.”
Watch how it works here