Indonesia-based AI-driven photography platform SweetEscape says it raised USD 6 million in its Series A funding round, co-led by Openspace Ventures and Jungle Ventures, with participation from Burda Principal Investments and previous investors.
SweetEscape offers photography services by connecting users with over 10,000 photographers around the world. The company was founded in 2017 by David Soong and serial entrepreneur Emile Etienne. Soong is an experienced photographer who’s also the founder of Axioo, a photography and videography company specializing in wedding, engagement, and family portraits. Meanwhile, Etienne was the co-founder of Indonesian wedding marketplace Bridestory which was recently acquired by Tokopedia.
Soong and Etienne aspired to build a global photography platform that helps users immortalize their special moments during the holidays by hiring a local professional photographer. It also aims to help photographers manage their business in a more flexible way. Today, SweetEscape has managed to scale to over 500 cities across more than 100 countries. It has serviced thousands of customers and the bookings have more than quadrupled since launching in 2017.
But the platform is more than a marketplace for photographers. According to Soong, most of a photographer’s time is spent not on taking the photos, but on managing the workflow instead. SweetEscape says it can cut the time that goes into administration and post-production by “about 80%,” which helps increase photographers productivity and income.
“To do this, our goal is to leverage AI image processing technology to accelerate and automate the post-production process,” Soong said in an official statement.
In addition to the travel segment, the platform has also started tapping into the business sector by offering food photography, real-estate photography, headshots, and so forth.
Headquartered in Jakarta, SweetEscape currently has over 100 employees across Jakarta, Singapore, and Manila and the company plans to double its team size by the end of 2019.
SweetEscape said it will use the fresh investment to further develop its AI tech capacity while strengthening its presence across Asia.