Lobster, a marketplace for social-media users to license their own user-generated content closes a £1 million Series A funding. TechCrunch reports investors include KL10CH (aka “The Key”), a tech hub co-working space in Moscow, Russia where the startup’s dev team is currently based; and Nikolay Katorzhnov, the former CEO of Otkritie Capital, who is contributing £500,000; along with various other unnamed investors making smaller contributions.
The London-based startup, which was one of the 2014 battlefield finalists at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe, has previously raised around $700,000 in seed funding, including from Wayra UK, U.K. angels and via a crowdfunding route.
CEO Olga Egorsheva says the Series A will help expand their marketing and partner presence overseas.
“This is really the next step for us. It’s really that moment where we start scaling not only the contributor usage but the customer usage — and we need to put some money in, some fuel in, to really make it take off in the key markets.”
“We have customers in the U.S., we have a few users in the U.S. and all over the world but we want to market more intensively in the U.S. — to businesses, to different agencies and media creatives, and through API integrations.”
Lobster’s AI powered search, which also works with video can identify and auto-tag features like color palette, photos without people and perform even more specific searches, such as for different genders, ethnicities, ages and facial/emotional expressions.
“Part of [our current] AI is based on Stanford’s technology which our tech team has adjusted to serve the social media field, and the database of social media that we have. The way forward as I see it is more in collaborating with industry players in AI,” says Egorsheva.