17 Dec 2015 Depositphotos Raises $5M to Expand Ukraine Base and Boost Growth in Developing Markets
Depositphotos has today announced a new $5M capital raise, on expected 2015 revenue of $20M. The company is now officially head-quartered in New York but with the vast majority of staff in Ukraine, will be using most of the funds to grow their Kyiv office and team, a condition of the lead investor of the round, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
They will also strengthen the company’s presence in regional developing markets like Brazil, Turkey and Western Europe, as their primary strategy to compete with top agencies dominating the larger U.S market.
According to the announcement, the EBRD lead the funding round with $4M through their venture capital investment program. Terms of the deal include the acquisition of a minority stake in Depositphotos –while founder Dmitry Sergeev retains majority ownership– and the condition of spending the money only in Ukraine. Sergeev is quoted saying 2015 revenue will reach approximately $20M.
The other $1M comes from TMT Investments, who invested $3M in the company in 2011.
Depositphotos was originally founded in Ukraine, and their Research and Development office is still based there. Given the terms of the deal with the EBRD, they will now use the majority of the funds to expand this base, hiring new staff and conducting marketing campaigns.
The company has been developing a local approach strategy in emerging markets, and now has successful operations in Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America. They aim to become industry leaders in these and new regions over the coming years.
Depositphotos burst onto the microstock scene in 2009 with solid funding and smart strategy. The funding was evidenced by a solid, custom-built website with all the bells and whistles, a generous pay-to-upload program, a generous affiliate program and a serious initial marketing campaign. The strategy was smart in that it combined all the strategic aspects of other microstock agencies that worked well.
The company has always been very secretive, though this is starting to change as the company becomes larger and more serious.
They have never set the industry on fire, but remain relevant while so many others have failed.
Contributors report moderate earnings through Depositphotos which is consistent with the modest $20M annual revenue, compared to Shutterstock’s $429M (annualised from the $107.3M of last quarter).
Raising such small amounts so long after launch also confirms development has been slow, but investors (TMT as a repeat investor) obviously have confidence in the numbers.