Utrecht-based ‘much better than a selfie’ startup Smiler raises $8 million

Utrech-based Smiler has raised $8 million in order to "make professional photography accessible to all".
Utrecht-based ‘much better than a selfie’ startup Smiler raises $8 million

Aiming to tap into what it calls a ‘second wave gig economy’, the Utrecht-based startup that connects those with a camera to visitors at over a million identified public locations and attractions, Smiler has raised $8 million in a seed round. The funding round will be used to further develop its marketplace technology as well as press forward with global expansion plans. 

Billed as an on-the-spot photography marketplace, Smiler is offering consumers a ‘photos better than a phone camera’ offer and creating an alternative income source for a wide range of photographic enthusiasts.

“It’s not only professional photographers who become Smilers,” says Smiler CEO and co-founder Kasper Middelkoop. “Many are young, talented photography enthusiasts who are looking to make money with their skills and passion. Photographers, like many creators, often don’t have the opportunity to turn that passion into profit, and so frequently turn to other side gigs.”

The startup has won contracts and tenders with venue and event partners across Europe, including Manchester City Football Club, Paris’s Montparnasse Tower, ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo, and is the official guest photography provider for the Tower of London.

"Our goal is to unlock a completely new industry and opportunity for skilled photographers to offer this quality imagery. So far they had to be booked in advance. Smiler is unlocking the opportunity to enable consumers to do spontaneous photoshoots at beautiful locations. So Smiler is making the market bigger for photographers," added Middelkoop.

Smiler’s $8 million seed round was led by Mosaic Ventures, with Speedinvest, Dutch Founders Fund, and PROfounders Capital participating alongside angel investors including Nous founder Greg Marsh.

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