Scottish online daily photo journal Blipfoto has secured second stage seed funding, bringing total investment to £300,000 ($485,000) and has announced that Ian Ritchie is to join as its chairman.
The second round of investment comes from its private investment group and the Scottish Investment Bank Seed Fund.
Ritchie, who is chair of a number of technology businesses, including iomart and the Interactive Design Institute, will now head up Blipfoto’s board as the company looks to manage its growth with eyes on the overseas market.
Founded in Edinburgh, Blipfoto has tens of thousands of contributors in over 170 countries worldwide, with 16m monthly page views. The site allows its users to share just one photo a day, taken on that day, creating a sort of diary.
The service works well for those looking to create a 365 day project or to offer some control to people are a little too snap-happy with their image uploads.
Ritchie is an impressive figure in the European tech arena. He was a founding director of the Scottish Software Federation (ScotlandIS) and, having been awarded a CBE for services to enterprise and education in 2003, he is a trustee to a number of charitable foundations, including the Nominet Trust, to which he is also the deputy chairman. The trust, run by of the world’s largest domain registries, supports Internet-related projects, primarily in education, online safety and inclusion.
Interestingly Ritchie is also the man who famously turned down Sir Tim Berners-Lee‘s World Wide Web idea. He is impressed by Blipfoto’s ambitions and says,
“Blipfoto has built a compelling and highly attractive offering for photographers, who want to share their best images on a daily basis. I look forward to helping them grow this business into a recognised global player and to providing a great service to photographers everywhere.”
At the end of 2010, Blipfoto announced seed investment which allowed the business to spin out from a side project into a full time venture. Blipfoto has enjoyed a fruitful 2011, which saw the team grow and many new features launch, as it doubled its traffic and passed one million entries. The site is already on course for its two millionth picture upload by the end of May this year.
In 2011 the BAFTA-winning platform was also voted the Best Scottish Website by The List magazine, and partnered with a number of big brands, from Channel 4 and The Guardian to the Edinburgh Festival and the National Theatre of Scotland.
Blipfoto CEO Joe Tree is delighted that Ritchie is joining as chairman and is primed for the next stages of business on a global scale, he stating,
”Ian’s joined at the perfect time, as we begin to focus our energies on scaling up and replicating the huge success we’ve enjoyed locally in other parts of the world. It’s great to have him on board, and I’m really excited to have his experience and expertise behind us as we enter this next phase of growth.”
Blipfoto is a company that has seen steady growth and provided high quality steps to improve its service and grow a following. With a technology pioneer on board as chairman, it will be interesting to see how it implements plans for global expansion.