Competition in the field of photo marketplaces is very high and when we first heard word of PicHit.Me’s investment we were glad for them but at the same time cautious as to whether they could really achieve the high goals set. We have been told that they might do for photos what Spotify did with music and Skype communications. That’s a very high bar to reach in an area where many start-ups have pitched their tents. So what is it about PicHit.Me that has convinced Swedish VC Almi Invest to put its money behind them?

On the surface the start-up is very much like many others, Rawporter, EyeEm, Foap, PhotoDune, Shutterstock… and those are just the first that we could come up with in the office. People sign up and can upload photos that others can then pay for and download. So far, so much the same.

Where PicHit.Me are looking to differentiate themselves is with their integration into Microsoft Office and the Windows Phone environment. What they have noticed is that for many business presentations staff will routinely steal photos they find online through Bing or Google and use them when legally they might have no permission to do so. Integrating a photo marketplace into Office so that as staff build a presentation they can search through a database of legal images and easily pay for the ones they use solves such a problem.

Of course they have also made the marketplace available through the web, so it’s not as if you are limited to only using the service if you use Power Point, however that does appear to be where they believe their largest potential market is right now.

Almi Invest certainly seem to believe in them and led the $3 million early expansion funding round. Confidence is reflected in the statements they have been making as well, Tarja zu them Berge, Fund Manager at Almi Invest, said, “PicHit.Me breaks old patterns and alter behaviour in a positive way, especially when it comes to the use of photos. It is simply Swedish innovation when it is at its best.”

Whether targeting Office and Windows Phone will be enough to carve out their own space and eventually compete against the more entrenched competition remains to be seen, but they’ve certainly found a new angle to attack from.

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