Photoroom, the AI-based photo-editing app out of Paris that has been growing like a weed targeting people doing business online while also attracting a lot of casual users to boot, confirmed it closed its latest funding round: $43 million at a $500 million valuation, according to CEO and co-founder Matthieu Rouif, who co-founded Photoroom with CTO Eliot Andres.

We were the first to report that the round was in the works in January. At the time, it looked like it would be more than $50 million; it ended up a little lower.

The funding comes at a time when the company continues to see a lot of adoption amid a pretty competitive market, with other players including the likes of Picsart, which has raised nearly $200 million, and Pixelcut. Photoroom said that it’s currently processing some 5 billion images annually, with its app passing 150 million downloads (it’s also available by way of an API, and via a web interface).

Balderton Capital led the round with new backer Aglaé and previous backer Y Combinator also participating. Other investors are not being disclosed, but previous backers include Kima Ventures, FJ Labs, Meta and a number of angels such as Yann LeCun, Zehan Wang (formerly of Magic Pony and Twitter), execs from Hugging Face and Disney+, and many more. This latest round brings the total raised by the company, which was founded about four years ago, to $64 million.

Photoroom plans to use the funding to hire more people and to continue investing in its R&D and infrastructure. At a time when we are still seeing a lot of layoffs across the tech industry, Photoroom has around 50 employees now and wants to double that by the end of this year. 

Specifically, unlike a lot of startups in building AI applications, Photoroom has focused on training its own models from the ground up: That means the company needs to invest in compute power, and ink deals for image rights from agencies and creators. This is also where the hiring will come into play: It’s looking for more more technical talent to continue improving the efficiency and operation of those models. (Case in point: The company claims that its custom architecture speeds up image generation for users by up to 40% compared to other visual AI platforms.)

“The foundation model is the next step in empowering businesses to create amazing product photos without the need to be an expert at prompt engineering or photography,” said Rouif in a statement. “Our model has been trained to excel at product photography and can quickly adapt to user needs and feedback.”

Alongside its homegrown models, the company continues to roll out a number of new features. The funding announcement is coinciding with a new tool for creating product photography, Photoroom Instant Diffusion, which aims to create images that look consistently styled for a single seller, regardless of where and how they were shot (essentially so that the product images look like they were produced in a professional studio). Other features it offers include AI-generated backgrounds, scene expansions, AI-generated images and a plethora of image-editing tools. For those working with images in bulk, its tools can also process those automatically in one go.

We’re hoping to talk both to Rouif in person and hopefully an investor and we’ll update this post when and if we can reach them. (They didn’t contact us ahead of time!)

“Balderton has witnessed Photoroom’s remarkable journey from its inception, and we are continually impressed by their ability to lead and execute on their user-centric vision,” said Bernard Liautaud, managing partner at Balderton, in a statement. “Photoroom’s generative AI capabilities are unparalleled, and we have no doubt that they will continue to lead the way in this rapidly evolving landscape.”

source

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