In the era of Instagram, premium content creation has never been more important for companies. But the costs of hiring photographers, designers, and other creators to make that content may leave smaller businesses with less money to spend at a disadvantage.
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Catalog, an L.A.-based startup founded by Patrick Ip and Jacobo Lumbreras that aims to help small and emerging enterprises create content has raised $1.5 million in seed funding and is officially launching today. Techstars, Moonshots Capital, and Luma Launch participated in the round. Previous investors include Day One Ventures, Greedy Fish Ventures, and others. 1
Ip told Crunchbase News that he was motivated to found the startup while working at Google as the Global Product Lead focused on advertiser retention for small and medium businesses.
“One of the biggest barriers to entry for them was just getting a content, photos, and videos that they could use for display ads,” Ip told Crunchbase News. “It was one of the top reasons that people were leaving Google AdWords overall.”
When Ip would send SMBs to Google’s partnering content creation agencies, many businesses could not afford the agencies’ hefty price tags. “I kept hearing that story over and over again,” Ip explained. So with the support of his director at Google (who would later invest), he left to work on Catalog full-time in February 2017.
So how does Catalog compare to traditional agencies? Companies upload information about their brand, its aesthetic, and design preferences. The company’s software then identifies a photographer and organizes logistics ranging from negotiations to usage rights and compliance. The big difference between Catalog and agencies and other similar enterprise-level contracts is that the software surfaces only the best photos, and companies pay $20 per photo rather than on a contract basis.
On the flip side, Catalog’s photographers have access to continuous work with the company’s predictive content packages, through which Catalog delivers monthly content to its participating clients. Further, Lumbreras emphasized that working with SMBs is also beneficial for photographers because they have a more stable revenue stream.
“We get a much higher density of transactions through the platform than somebody working with enterprise clients,” Lumbreras said. “Customers are going to come to the platform […] much more often than if you close an enterprise contract every three or four months.”
Currently, Catalog is focusing on companies in the fashion and beauty and lifestyle industries. Ip said that this focus is the result of both the market size and the explosion of diversity in the space.
“A lot of small businesses in the beauty space that maybe had three SKUs for three different skin tones are now expected to have 50 or hundred SKUs to tell diverse stories,” Ip said, adding that with that growth of diverse products comes a need for diverse content as well.
The company plans to use its funding to grow its 15 member team and invest in strengthening its software.
Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias
Company Update: Moonshots Capital was the lead investor in the round↩