By Robert Kraft
Company Profile Page: Lightricks Ltd.
At this event, I had the opportunity to speak with Itai Tsiddon, Co-Founder of an Israeli-based startup with a New York office, Lightricks Ltd. Now, at Stock News Now, we try to bring you everything under the sun in MicroCap – both public and private companies. The reason Lightricks was particularly intriguing to me is that, although still considered in startup stage, I wanted to do an interview that showcases the potential of Mobile, Mobile software, apps, etc…
1. Itai, let’s start off with a brief overview of Lightricks Ltd.
Sure! Lightricks is a mobile software startup founded by five friends in January 2013. Four of us were doing their PhDs in CS back then, and we noticed the gap between state of the art image processing technology in academia and what’s available to the public via regular, run of the mill photo editing apps. We set about to change that. We’re 100% revenue funded, and after less than two years of activity, we’re up to 20 employees, solely on the strength of our profits from selling our products. Our first product, Facetune, is the world’s most powerful and successful portrait editing app. Facetune enables users to retouch portraits in a number of ways – from basic teeth whitening, blemish removal and red-eye removal, to more advanced features like filling bald patches, reshaping facial features and coloring hair. It basically puts the power of advanced image processing technology in the hands of anyone with a smartphone. Facetune has reached the #1 rank on the paid app charts of over 100 countries, both on iOS and Android, and is one of the best selling paid apps in the world.
2. What was your motivation behind the creation of Facetune?
With Facetune, we saw a gap in the market: there were a lot of photo editing apps out there, but very few high quality, easy to use ones that were really built mobile first. We just felt we can do much better than the existing solutions in the market by an order of magnitude, and that it’s a market with tons of potential – there’s clearly a platform shift from desktop to mobile, and that’s where people are spending their time. This means that for the first time everyone has a super computer with an HDR camera in their pocket, and that changes everything.
3. How does Facetune work? I download the app, it connects to my Camera Roll, take photos, and then make adjustments as I see fit? Explain.
It’s as simple as that. There is a range of different features within the app that enable users to make every portrait their best. People are excited by how user friendly Facetune is, the level of quality touch-ups they can achieve with the swipe of a finger, and generally how great their photos look once they are Facetuned. While it’s built with a lot of deep technology, all of that is abstracted from the user. For them they can easily achieve superb results with their photos. They look realistic, and much better.
4. Why did you start charging for Facetune from inception? It seems most app companies use the “Free-mium” model.
While in principle we’d say we’re agnostic about monetization models, there are some great advantages to the good old fashioned bakery model – make a bagel, sell the bagel, buy ingredients for two bagels, sell those bagels, etc. Especially when the ingredients (or variable costs, if you will) are extremely cheap such as with software. That’s pretty much a definition of scalability in economical terms, if the numbers work out between the fixed and variable costs, as well as sales.
Cont'd to Page 2...
Aside from that, it lets you stay independent and make bets in ways that would not necessarily work otherwise. There are some great additional advantages to the paid model, if you can go that way – it makes your sale cycles much quicker and your data funnels much cleaner. We don’t have to measure and check as many KPIs as others who count on in-app conversion to monetize. At the end of the day, the premium model, while difficult, allows you to establish a relationship of trust with your customers.
5. I remember when I first got Instagram, I downloaded all the free apps that added borders and other fun stuff. Who are your competitors – both on the paid and non-paid app?
Facetune is specialized for portraits – it’s not a generalized image processing application. The numbers kind of speak for themselves – while there have been other attempts in this market, Facetune is the clear category winner. That’s because it’s a better product, and good product matters even more than is discussed. That being said, the nature of mobile UX (limited interface, limited features at the high level of said interface as a result) encourages unbundling and the making of specific apps that do one thing extremely well over others. There’s been a lot of talk about that, and we concur with that assessment. We think there are a lot of other good applications out there, but that there’s a lot more to do in this space. It’s all still maturing, really. We’re in the early innings in the game of mobile software.
6. Tell me more about the Facebook Case Study on Facetune. How did this come about and why?
Facebook have been great partners of ours almost from day 1. As the case study says, when we launched, we were looking for a sustainable, transparent way to grow. Facebook just launched their mobile app install ads product recently, which turned out to be the biggest thing in the market for mobile user acquisition. It was new and exciting, and much like other places that are new, you were able to get an edge if you worked hard at it. Our co-founder & CMO, Nir Pochter, is a former AI PhD student so he’s well versed with optimization problems. This form of marketing is extremely analytical. Think creative bond traders at their terminals, not Mad Men on Madison Avenue. Examining the opportunities to outsource this, we reached the conclusion we have to own this part of the stack as it’s too system critical, and existing solutions were not satisfactory. So we started building best in class practices and systems, and Facebook noticed and thought it was kind of cool that a small, revenue funded startup is doing all this sophisticated stuff and growing massively on top of their platform. That led to a wonderful working relationship that continues to this day. I’ll actually be on their panel in Le Web 2014 in Paris to talk about this stuff and more.
7. There are now SO many apps out there, especially in the photo altering/adjustment space. How have you made Facetune stand out from the rest?
We built something people love – focusing on what their needs are and applying state of the art technology to fulfill them. Turns out it wasn’t done for this use case before really. The question isn’t how many apps are there – the questions are how many great apps are there, and what their ability to drive discovery is, which we talked a bit about in your previous question.
8. What does the future hold for Lightricks Ltd.?
We continue to work to bring state of the art image processing technology to mobile. We have a major release coming out in the near future that is going to be ground breaking, which both we and many other relevant players in the field are excited about. We can’t wait to put it out there – we think it’s going to put a serious dent in the way people can be creative on mobile.
For more information about Lightricks Ltd., click here: www.Lightricks.com
© 2017 Stock News Now
Supported by Superior Web Solutions