Crowdsourced imagery service Twenty20 has launched out of beta testing with the announcement that it has secured $8m (£5.2m) in investment from a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Canaan Partners.
Twenty20 aims to connect amateur and semi-professional photographers with creative professionals, creating a mobile-oriented crowdsourced collection of stock imagery that enables businesses to source from a supply of authentic and legal user-generated content.
The service has already seen massive growth while still in beta, with 45m photos from over 250,000 photographers across 154 countries. The company plans on using the funding secured to partner with artistic and creative influencers who can aid the firm in crafting realistic, fresh marketing, advertising and social campaigns for a variety of brands.
"We're in a new era of constant curation and distribution that must feel authentic and connect with consumers," said Maha Ibrahim, general partner at Canaan Partners. "Meanwhile, user-generated content is the most authentic creative in the world and has been proven to connect with consumers. Companies must keep up with this shift, or face becoming irrelevant."
Images by mobile photographers using the Twenty20 platform have already been used in campaigns by brands including West Elm, Washio and The Audience. In addition to Canaan Partners, the Series A funding round also saw investment by First Round Capital, Bullpen Capital and VersionOne Ventures.
"Twenty20 is here to harness the power of a mobile photo and provide a bigger stage to showcase everyday talent," said Matt Munson, founder and CEO of Twenty20. "Creative brands and agencies are looking for original image content from real people, creating a more impactful and sincere relationship with their customers.
"We are excited to use this funding round to grow Twenty20 and develop key partnerships to continue to provide the most authentic creative in the world."