London: Phototech startup BOOM has announced that it has closed a $7 million Series A round led by United Ventures to support the firm’s next stage of growth, as it chases a five per cent market share of the £80 billion global digital photography market and build a presence in every country in the world.
Founded in 2018 by Federico Mattia Dolci, Giacamo Grattirola, and Jacopo Benedetti, BOOM is on a mission to develop the world’s most efficient digital content logistics and fulfilment system, delivering global online real estate businesses visual assets on-demand.
BOOM said it had recognised a major digital supply-and-demand gap – countless internet-based giants across the real estate sector were uploading billions of pictures on their websites and platforms every day, but these same brands had no access to a content provider that could keep up with a scaled-up, global, fast-paced environment.
CEO Dolci and his co-founders understood that in a digital era, visual content is paramount.
Photography is now seen as a key driver for successful online commerce after online payments. BOOM’s tech-first Order System aims to enable it to offer high quality, affordable content on a global scale, created and shared in a simple, streamlined, standardised work-flow.
According to the startup, BOOM is one of the leaders in an £80 billion per annum market, which is growing at a rate of five per cent year-on-year. The tech firm is experiencing 20 per cent growth month-on-month – 400 per cent year-on-year and has already processed over three million images for global clients, averaging one shoot a minute.
Dolci has navigated BOOM’s team of 70 employees, spanning 18 languages, through the pandemic as it continues to grow at speed with a presence in more than 80 countries – 22 new countries during lockdown alone, targeting 140 countries by the end of 2021.
BOOM is already on the ground in major markets including the UK and USA, but, as a ‘remote working’ business from day one, it will open physical offices in London and New York to support its growing employee and photographer – 35,000 at last count – network.
CEO Dolci, 26, said that his focus remains on sustainable growth based firmly around supply and demand, allowing the team to make a play for profitability as early as 2022. The business will have a team of 100 by the end of this year, spanning 100 countries, and targeting £100 million revenue by 2024.
The startup now has in excess of 250 major corporate clients, including the likes of Lavanda, Westwing, Vacasa, OYO, Belvilla, and hundreds of small- and medium-sized enterprises. Its goal is to build a multi-product company, focused on rewriting the future of commercial photography, and expanding into new regions and industries.
With BOOM having experienced strong growth during the pandemic, which has culminated in its Series A round funding round, online business has became an essential lifeline during the lockdown. The startup is seeking to deliver clients digital content within 24 hours, and the team onboarded a host of new clients across Q2 and Q3 2020.
Through the Order System, clients can not only manage photoshoots but also book videographers, drone pilots, designers and other creative assets using the innovative platform.
Dolci said: “As Victor Hugo said – ‘there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come’.
“Today, businesses have to digitalise overnight and they need high-quality visuals to stand out from a crowded marketplace. Visual content is everything, and BOOM ensures creativity remains at the forefront without forfeiting brand consistency.
“Whether it’s one photoshoot or a thousand, or whether it is in Chicago, London, or Sydney, we guarantee speed, efficiency, consistency and quality. This is the power of our Order System.
“By the end of the year, we will cover 100 countries and will expand into more verticals. It’s the beginning of a complete innovation of the creative and photographic industry,” he added.
BOOM’s technology focuses on its proprietary platform, ‘the Order System’, which automates the end-to-end photo production cycle for global brands, enabling clients to order as many photoshoots as they require in a few clicks, and have them delivered in just 24 hours.
The two-sided intuitive tech is designed to reduce effort across the digital ecosystem from booking to delivery, in a flexible, scalable way.
The Order System platform is built into sub-systems that focus on a specifics series of tasks:
The Entry System allows clients to order through API / CRM connection
The Management System automatically manages all the aspects of the brief, i.e. photographer assignment through algorithms and scoring, and processes thousands of photos with automatic post-production
Through the Delivery System, clients receive their visuals 24 hours later through the platform’s connection to their database
BOOM leverages artificial intelligence [AI] in post-production, editing thousands of pictures like a professional editor in seconds. This ensures consistency across all images, and in doing so, tackles the “hardest problems” of computer vision, such as instance segmentation, object recognition and image-to-image translation.
Dolci said: “We dreamed about building a company that’s sustainable over a long-term horizon. For this reason, we are on a mission to develop the world’s most efficient system by turning the traditional photographic industry model on its head.
“We are enabling companies with global ambitions to improve their customer’s experience and increase their online sales based on the principles of beauty, effectiveness, and technology. The size of the opportunity is exciting, but it’s not about winning.
“It’s about designing something lasting, where there was nothing before. Our mantra is taking care of the people, the product, and the profits – in that order,” he added.
In addition, BOOM has been recognised by LinkedIn as one of the top startups in Italy, with CEO Dolci listed on the Forbes Under 30 list.