Lightricks, the startup behind popular selfie app Facetune, will focus on developing its image processing technology after snapping up $10 million. Led by Carmel Ventures, this represents Lightricks’ first external funding since it launched in 2013.
The Jerusalem-based company, which has 30 employees, claims its yearly revenue run rate is now $10 million. Lightricks also makes photo-editing app Enlight, but is best known for Facetune, which lets users quickly fix and adjust portraits to make them more flattering.
Co-founder and CEO Zeev Farbman says its new capital will allow Lightricks to continue improving Enlight and Facetune while launching new products. It plans to double its team over the next year.
Lightricks became profitable using what it calls “the bakery model,” Farbman tells TechCrunch.
“Make a bagel, sell the bagel, hire people to bake more bagels, sell those bagels, etc. Basically, we didn’t follow the traditional free or freemium model that is the norm in the apps industry, and instead sold Facetune and Enlight from the get-go,” he says.
While both products compete with a plethora of other photo-editing tools, Farbman says Lightricks’ success proves that users are willing to pay (Enlight and Facetune each cost $3.99) to get immediate access to an entire suite of high-quality editing tools instead of downloading features one-by-one.
“Our strategy has and will always be to focus on bringing state of the art, research-level algorithms to enhance the creativity tools on mobile,” says Farbman. “The fact that we’ve been entirely bootstrapped until now and sold over five million copies of Facetune and Enlight in a competitive space where pushing paid apps is seen as a non-traditional approach is a further testament to the quality of our product.”
He adds that Facetune attracted users when it launched by spending its entire marketing budget on Facebook. The strategy proved successful enough that Facetune is now used by the social network as a case study on user acquisition.
In a prepared statement, Carmel Ventures general partner Daniel Cohen said “Lightricks possesses a rare combination of proprietary core technology alongside a proven track record of creating products people want and are happy to pay for. We are constantly looking to partner with companies that have the ability to truly revolutionize a given sector, and Lightricks has the potential to reimagine people’s creativity on mobile.”