Amsterdam-based Smiler secures €7.9M, launches new photography marketplace website: Know more

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Amsterdam-based Smiler, a startup which connects photographers with visitors at popular tourist locations and hotspots, announced on Thursday that it has secured an additional $8.5M (approximately €7.92M) in fresh funding. 

This brings Smiler’s total funding to over $15M (approximately €13.98M) to date.

Smiler’s investment coincides with the launch of Smiler.co website. This consumer website draws on Smiler’s network of 20,000 photographers and enables users to search for, schedule, and book these quick and simple photoshoots in advance. 

Photographers can download the Smiler Photographer app and create an account for customer bookings.

The Colosseum in Rome, Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris are just a few of the most well-known locations in Europe where Smiler photographers can be spotted. Every week, more locations are added, claims the company.

Investors supporting this deal

The current funding round was led by Octopus Ventures, an active VC investor in the UK and Europe, investing in and supporting the people, ideas, and industries that are changing the world.

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The firm manages £1.9B for retail and institutional investors, and invests £200M yearly. It has backed over 180 businesses across the UK and Europe, including Zoopla, WaveOptics, Cazoo, and Depop.

Additionally, the round also saw participation from Mosaic Ventures, Speedinvest, Dutch Founders Fund, and PROfounders Capital.

Matt Chandler, Investor at Octopus Ventures, says, “Smiler has a unique value proposition for its photographers – have demand delivered into your app, and all of the tech infrastructure to find, take and share amazing photos with an incremental customer base.”

“The output of this is a level of service that is far superior to the existing way that people create photographic memories. We are delighted to Partner with the Smiler team on their mission to become the dominant global player in their space,” adds Chandler. 

The photography marketplace

Founded in 2021 by Kasper Middelkoop, Martine Rooth and Rob Hulleman, Smiler believes that valuable memories deserve to be captured in high-quality. It is an on-the-spot photography marketplace for freelance, professional, and enthusiast photographers. 

The platform enables photographers to offer spontaneous on-the-spot photoshoots at memorable locations and venues.

Photographers can serve various appointments on the same day by focusing demand at high-trafficked sites, making it a high-volume, high-value, and predictable way to earn money through photography. 

Bookings are made using Smiler’s Photographer app, which connects photographer supply to customer demand and puts photographers in control of their own availability and schedule.

Middelkoop says, “The process of starting your own photography business, self-promotion, and generating bookings traditionally requires significant effort, connections, and a bit of luck.”

“Smiler simplifies this process, enabling photographers to connect directly with real consumer demand for high-quality photography using just their camera and the Smiler Photographer app.”

Unlike traditional photography services, which charge exorbitant day prices for extended bookings, Smiler claims to make use of the foot traffic in tourist attractions to deliver shorter, but equally memorable, picture experiences. 

Middelkoop adds, “Most people don’t need hours with a professional photographer for their precious memories. By focusing on popular locations where people seek memorable experiences, such as tourist hotspots, we unlock the value of billions of uncaptured memories.

“Smiler bridges the gap, making photography accessible and financially attractive for photographers while delivering an invaluable service for consumers” he adds.

Capital utilisation

Smiler says it will use the fresh funds to expand its presence globally and introduce thousands of new locations and photoshoot experiences in the next year.

The photography marketplace is already connected with prominent Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), improving the sector of tours, activities, and attractions.

Smiler claims one of the most desired features by customers and photographers alike has been the ability to identify, schedule, and book these brief photography sessions in advance.

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Vishal Singh

Vishal Singh is a News Reporter and Social Media Marketing Lead at Silicon Canals. He covers developments in the European startup ecosystem and oversees the publication's social media presence. Before joining Silicon Canals, Vishal gained experience at the Indian digital media outlet Inc42, contributing to its growth with insightful content. Despite being a college dropout, his passion for writing has driven his career in journalism.

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