ImagenAI, a startup using AI to help professional photographers edit photos and automate post-production work, announced today that it has raised $30 million in an all-equity growth investment from Summit Partners. The new capital brings the total raised by Imagen to $34 million, and co-founder and CEO Yotam Gil tells TechCrunch it will be used to expand the startup’s software-as-a-service offering through mergers and acquisitions and product research and development.
Imagen’s success comes as investors grow increasingly optimistic about AI tools for generating and editing artwork, including photorealistic art. Cupixel, whose AI technology takes images to create outlines of the photo for drawings or paintings, recently raised $5 million. Meanwhile, Runway ML, which develops an AI-powered creative suite for artists and has been a major contributor to AI Stable Diffusion text-to-image broadcasting research, snagged $50 million in early December.
Imagen was co-founded by Gil, Ron Oren (former Head of R&D at Sinsense) and Yoav Chai (former Mellanox chip designer) in 2020, inspired by Chai’s experience of waiting months for his wedding photos. Speaking with photographers, the co-founders say they realized a major problem in the industry: post-production is repetitive and time-consuming. Because each photographer has their own style, the process is not necessarily easy to automate with existing tools.
The solution they arrived at — Imagen (not to be confused with Google Imagen) — aims to learn a photographer’s personal style based on around 3,000 samples of their previous work. Available as a cloud-based plugin for Adobe Lightroom Classic, ImagenAI leverages machine learning to attempt to capture editing styles and predict dozens of different editing parameters, taking around half a second – and 0 $.05 per photo – to complete an edit.
Gil explains that Imagen’s editing profiles evolve over time, theoretically becoming more personalized as Imagen processes photos in various scenes and lighting conditions. The platform ingests more than 150 million photos a year for “tens of thousands” of customers worldwide, he said.
“Imagen profiles evolve and learn with the user over time, allowing for greater accuracy and consistency in applying each photographer’s style to new photos ingested into Imagen,” said Gil. “Any photographer who edits on a large scale and spends a lot of time in post-production can benefit from saving time and money while maintaining quality.”
Imagen also provides pre-trained profiles, called Talent AI Profiles, based on the unique editing styles of “industry leading” photographers. Gil claims they are tested on a large database of photos to ensure they produce consistent results.
“Before Imagen, photographers could either edit manually or outsource to an editing service, which is expensive, has a long turnaround time, and offers no guarantees on consistent results,” Gil said. . “Imagen democratizes professional photographic post-production, eliminating the need for multiple professional photo editors to process a brand’s visual assets, and allowing photographic assets to become available and usable much faster.”
Gil says Imagen is currently profitable, with over $10 million in annual recurring revenue. In the short term, the company plans to launch a “selector” product that will select the best photos from a photo shoot and a local adjustment tool. to identify specific parts in photos, such as subjects, to apply different editing adjustments.
Asked about competitors (other than manual outsourcing, of course), Gil acknowledges that Adobe, for its part, maintains a number of AI image editing tools in its products, particularly Lightroom. But he argues that none are as personalized or customizable as Imagen – at least not yet.
“Imagen’s ability to edit with the user’s own style and adjust the edit to each photo based on the characteristics of the photo, gives enormous value to the user,” Gil said. “[With Imagen,] photographers can improve their earning potential by creating more valuable time shooting and less time wasted editing. As inflation and macroeconomic trends affect personal spending for events like weddings and corporate budgets for things like ad campaigns, efficiency will be even more critical to achieving scale.
Steffan K. Peyer, managing director of Summit Partners, unsurprisingly agrees.
“There are over a million professional photographers – along with many other budding enthusiasts – and many are limited by the immense burden of manual post-production work associated with each photoshoot,” he said. declared by e-mail. “With the growth of digital assets and rising expectations for higher quality and greater quantity of professional images, the Imagen team has built a platform that leverages custom machine learning technology and exclusive, previously impossible on a large scale.”
Imagen, which has 50 employees worldwide, plans to double the size of its workforce next year.