Unsplash Raises $7.25 Million Via Unique Blockchain Tokenization Project OST

Unsplash has raised a $7.25 million Series A financing round.

The Montreal-based image website is the fastest growing photography platform since the founding of Instagram and has seen immense success after being founded in 2013. The funding round was led by Simple Token, otherwise known as OST. They are a blockchain company behind the Simple Token which currently has a market cap of close to $75 million USD.

OST invested $5 million in the round through a combination of U.S. currency and Simple Tokens. Unsplash is reportedly still in discussion with other investors and the round could grow past $10 million in the coming months. Other new investors in this current Series A round include Betaworks and angel investors like Clark Valberg, Roger Dickey and Rahul Vohra while existing investors Accomplice and Real Ventures also participated.

Unsplash is built on offering their community free high-quality imagery to be used in a multitude of different ways. Teaming up with OST is a natural move as Unsplash can empower their community with blockchain technology to further democratize and decentralize their platform, all while retaining the free-to-use principles they were built on. This partnership represents the largest consumer web-service blockchain tokenization project ever announced.

“There’s a big shift that’s happening and the time has come for a new model that supports the digital era of photography,” said Unsplash CEO Mikael Cho. “As the Unsplash community grows into one of the largest creative communities in the world, we believe it’s our responsibility to create value for photographers and the creative economy as a whole. The application of Blockchain technologies and token economies could be a key breakthrough for developing value while maintaining the spirit of our open community.”

Unsplash has indeed seen a lot of growth over the past few years. Check out a few milestones they have shared.

  • Over 5.4 billion photos viewed per month.
  • 10 photos downloaded per second.
  • More than 48 billion photo views and 310M photo downloads since 2013.
  • 28 million photo downloads per month.
  • Over 5.6 billion API calls from developers integrating Unsplash into their apps.

Unsplash also shared a few interesting tidbits, like a photo featured on the site is seen by more people than the cover of the New York Times or that top photos on the site garner more views than the entire population of major cities.

The site descirbed three factors that led to their extreme growth: focusing on building something useful, fostering a modern community of creatives for today’s digital world, and supporting developers.

“Unsplash is a magical product that is democratizing photography and making quality digital imagery widely available and highly usable by individuals, developers, and businesses around the world,” said OST CEO Jason Goldberg. “We jumped at the opportunity to partner with Unsplash to disrupt the incumbents by combining Unsplash’s superior product with the game-changing potential of blockchain technology.”

Following the financing, Goldberg will join Unsplash’s board of directors, while another independent board member will join later.

This financing round signifies more than an influx of new equity to Unsplash, as it allows the photo platform to better decouple images from the traditional licensing model and create a new ecosystem for a new era. On top of that, it lets OST fully integrate their blockchain toolkit for businesses and launch a fully branded digital token economy.