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Pond5 moves to conquer more of digital media market

Shutterstock’s rival and younger New York neigh­bor, Pond5, has just announced a wal­lop­ing $61 mil­lion Series A cash injection.

User-gen­er­at­ed cre­ativ­i­ty 

Prod­uct man­agers toil­ing away in tech firms across the US may like to know how a com­pa­ny which hith­er­to raised only $500k in seed fund­ing back in 2008 came to bag such a mighty new invest­ment. Launched in 2006, three years after its chief com­peti­tor Shut­ter­stock, Pond5’s alter­na­tive in the dig­i­tal media and video world is its user-dri­ven dig­i­tal mar­ket­place which pro­vides a panoply of dig­i­tal con­tent in for­mats rang­ing from stock video, pho­tos, music and spe­cial effects, to AdobeAfter­Ef­fects and more.

Pond5 invites media cre­ators to upload the fruits of their cre­ative endeav­ors and set their own price tags. As busi­ness savvy prod­uct man­agers will quick­ly note, that’s a mod­el which leaves price con­trol almost com­plete­ly to the buy­ers and sell­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the online mar­ket­place. All Pond5 does is pro­vide the dig­i­tal venue.

Com­ment­ing on the startup’s mas­sive new fund­ing round, CEO Tom Ben­nett told TechCrunch jour­nal­ist Jor­dan Crook that Pond5 was now prof­itable. He said that it had been able to hold off on addi­tion­al invest­ment until now because the team chose to grow the busi­ness more slow­ly and “that is more robust and organ­ic.” He added:

“With regards to any future financ­ings, we haven’t made a deter­mi­na­tion one way or anoth­er whether we’ll go down that path, but we decid­ed a long time ago that at all points in time we would have the option of a sus­tain­able, prof­itable busi­ness that doesn’t require exter­nal funding.”

Growth plans

With head­quar­ters in New York’s Fifth Avenue and addi­tion­al offices in Prague and Gene­va, Pond5 can now claim brag­ging rights to over 15 mil­lion dig­i­tal media clips cre­at­ed by 30,000 artists com­ing from 127 coun­tries. And, it claims, its 2.7 mil­lion videos con­sti­tute the biggest roy­al­ty-free video archive on the Net.

From its mod­est begin­nings, the start­up now employs a work­force of 70, most of them between New York and Prague offices. And that’s a num­ber that’s set to rise very short­ly: the new invest­ment will be used to dou­ble it, as well as to add more con­tent, build out the prod­uct and mar­ket the company’s services.

Even the most hard-boiled prod­uct man­ag­er would have to agree that Pond5’s is an impres­sive suc­cess story.

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