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Exclusive: Lightricks makes first acquisition

Kerry Flynn
Mar 23, 2022
Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Lightricks is acquiring Popular Pays, a Chicago-based software company that connects brands with creators, executives exclusively tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is Lightrick's first acquisition, and it plans more.

  • The move expands the company's product from a suite of editing tools to directly providing creators with monetization opportunities.
  • "For modern creators, their needs only start with content creation tools," Lightricks co-founder and CEO Zeev Farbman says. "We want to be completely aligned with creators and offer them a platform that helps them succeed every step of the way."

What's next: Lightricks has plans for more M&A, with several targets already. The team is also "working on a lot of developments in the content monetization space, like NFTs," says Rony Laufer, vice president of business and corporate development at Lightricks.

  • Lightricks' 2021 revenue was more than $200 million, and it plans to grow that by 40%, TechCrunch reported last year. Both remain true, executives say.
  • "We're really well capitalized. We are not in any rush to raise and definitely not to IPO," Farbman says.

Details: The acquisition was in the "tens of millions," Farbman says.

  • Popular Pays has 130 clients that represent more than 350 brands. About 60,000 creators use it for free. The platform makes money by taking a percentage from brands' deals, and brands pay a SaaS fee depending on the level of service.
  • Lightricks is planning to integrate Popular Pays into its apps, starting with Videoleap, and applying its tech to suggest opportunities.
  • "When you're editing, you could see a pop-up saying, 'Hey, L'Oréal is doing this big campaign for red lipstick, you're using red lipstick on your photo, do you want to apply?'" says Laufer.
  • All 30 Popular Pays' employees are joining Lightricks, and CEO Corbett Drummey will become the vice president of brand collaboration at Lightricks.
  • Lightricks has 550 employees across five offices, primarily based at its Jerusalem headquarters.

Catch up quick: Lightricks owns 11 photo and video editing apps such as Facetune, Filtertune and Videoleap. It has more than 30 million monthly active users, including 5.1 million paid subscribers.

  • Lightricks has raised $335 million and is valued at $1.9 billion. In September, it raised $130 million in Series D funding. TikTok star Charli D'Amelio and her family announced a partnership, including a separate investment, in February.
  • Farbman says about two to three years ago, Lightricks discovered 75% of its users had "commercial intent," motivating the team to provide monetization services like its LinkInBio feature.
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