500px, the premier global photo community for discovering, sharing, buying, and selling the highest quality photography, announced today that it has closed a $13 million Series B round led by strategic investor Visual China Group, a leading provider of digital visual content and solutions listed in China with market cap over US$3 billion. All major investors from the Series A – including Andreessen Horowitz, Harrison Metal, and ff Venture Capital – participated in the round, bringing the total investment raised to date to $23 million.
"Over 1 trillion photographs are taken every year and there is tremendous opportunity for 500px to take the helm in curating to surface the best of them," said Andy Yang, CEO of 500px. "Our growth is reflective of this opportunity and the huge value our community sees in our platform. This funding round will enable us to continue to support our rapidly growing community of photographers, be they professional or enthusiasts, with products for discovering, showcasing, and selling amazing content. This round will also open the door to the Greater China market by working with the market leader Visual China Group."
Within the past year, 500px has grown its base of community members to more than six million creatives who have uploaded more than 55 million images.
"Our community is very active. The images people share on 500px represent their best work, and our vibrant community provides feedback by favoriting a photo, sharing it with their social networks, or even offering a critique," added Yang. The 500px marketplace has also expanded rapidly, making millions of the images on 500px available for licensing to agencies, designers, corporate marketers and creative campaign managers.
500px will use the new funding to support this rapid growth and expand the product, marketing, and operational team. Product development will be accelerated with an emphasis on expanding the marketplace to support the substantial interest from the creative and design industries to license 500px images. Long term, the funding will help grow the existing global user base by fueling international expansion, in particular to Greater China and the Asia Pacific region.
"The 500px brand has huge potential in the Asia Pacific region with its unparalleled image quality combined with the massive community base. As a strategic shareholder, we are delighted to distribute 500px premium quality images to our entire customer base in Greater China," said Amy Liang, CEO of Visual China Group. "The 500px foundation of discovering creative talent and providing a forum and marketplace for increased exposure is synergistic with the Visual China Group strategic roadmap. In conjunction with the strategic investment and exclusive distribution partnership in China, we are happy to establish our China-specific Joint Venture with 500px to leverage their know-how and experience as well as our local foundation to rapidly expand the community business in Greater China."
"500px provides its engaged community of photography enthusiasts with a marketplace to improve, showcase and monetize unique, high quality images," said Jeff Jordan, partner at Andreessen Horowitz. "We are excited to support the company's mission to enable and reward the community's visual creativity."
About Visual China Group Co., Ltd.
Visual China Group, founded in 2000, is China's biggest visual content and solution provider, listed in Shenzhen A share [000681.SZ] with a market capitalization of over $3 billion. VCG operates China's largest online visual content platform (vcg.cn), with catalogues from over 240 institutional image partners including 500px, Getty Images, Reuters, AFP and over 15,000 individual photographers.
Visual China Group has over 70 million still images, 1 million pieces of stock footage and 200,000 pieces of production music, serving a diverse customer base of over 15,000 media companies, government organizations, corporate clients, advertising agencies and public relations companies in China. VCG is also the owner of the most popular online visual designers community (shijue.me) in China.