The Disruptor

The Disruptor: Welcome

Welcome to a new weekly column on The Disruptor. 

Each week we’ll be highlighting the most talked about disruptive company(s).  

Have a company that should be on our radar? Email us at: 

Lightricks, Unicorn Startup

This week’s disruptor, Lightricks, gained Unicorn status.

The company name may not sound familiar, but they’re inventors of Facetune, the AI photo-editing app that almost every influencer uses to tune their photos for the ‘gram.  

Rise to Fame 

Facetune rose to the top of the charts in 2014, and in 2017 it became the most popular paid app in the Apple Store.  

The app allows anyone who has an iPhone or Android device to touch-up their photos with almost professional precision.  Gray hair, gone. Yellow teeth, whitened. Cellulite smoothed away. Wrinkles, not a chance. 

A Family of Apps 

Lightricks, is an Israeli company based in Jerusalem, founded in 2013 by Zeev Farbman and four other Ph.D. students. The company has a family of six products, including Facetune, all subscription-based.  One of their other popular apps is Enlight, that similar to Facetune, allows amateurs to create professional-looking edits to photos.   Facetune has beat out competitors for over five years, and it was pulling in $10 million in revenue 2015. 

Farbman told several news outlets that Lightricks had seen 180 million downloads total and Facetune currently has a subscriber base of over 1 million. The company’s other five apps have a combined 3 million subscribers.

Our founding team includes Ph.D.s who were at the top of their fields, which allowed us to attract a strong team at the beginning. And once you’re hiring the best people, you’re probably going to build the best software. And if you’re building the best software, you can charge premium prices for that,” he said.

Unicorn Valuation 

Even as concerns swirl around over-saturation in the mobile app industry, the market doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  Lightricks is benefitting from this continued growth with the success of their Facetune and Enlight apps. 

According to Crunchbase, “Lightricks was among the first companies to implement subscription pricing for its mobile applications. Since the launch of the iOS App Store and Google Play Stores, mobile developers primarily relied on one-time purchases.”

In its Series C announcement, Lightricks highlighted the success of their subscription models, “Since moving to a subscription-based model three years ago, Lightricks’ revenues have tripled year after year.”

In November Lightricks raised an impressive $60 million round. This week the startup exceeded all expectations by raising $135 million in Series C funding and earning a $1 billion valuation.  The company has raised $204 million in venture capital in total so far. 

This week’s deal was fronted by Goldman Sacs, along with Insight Partners and ClalTech.  Insight and ClalTech also contributed to the previous November round.

What’s Next? 

The company released a statement outlining a plan to use the funding to create Artificial Intelligence (AI) based content tools. 

Lightricks also plans on acquiring several strategic companies to assist with expansion; they are in talks with four potentials. They’ll also be opening their 3rd office in Germany and doubling their staff from 250 to 500. 

You can read Lightrick’s full PR statement here.