Ukraine-founded startup Let’s Enhance attracted $3 million to develop a tool that automatically improves the quality of digital images, the company announced on Oct. 27.
Called Claid, this cloud service uses artificial intelligence (AI) to edit images added by users to electronic commerce websites, real estate marketplaces and food delivery services. These platforms have specific requirements for photos, which Claid helps satisfy.
Its algorithms work like those of Photoshop: they can fix lighting, correct color, remove objects and change the background of the image. The main difference is that the service does all of that automatically, using AI. Claid can edit millions of images in several hours; it takes up to 2 seconds to edit one photo in real-time.
According to the company’s founders, Sofi Shvets and Vlad Pranskevicius, this technology helps online businesses increase sales and attract new users who are more likely to click on the attractive, high-quality photo of the product.
The company has already sold its technology to French e-commerce giant Veepee, Israeli photo design service Mixtiles, American marketing agency Pollinate and nearly 30 other clients across the world. Let’s Enhance cannot disclose their names due to the confidentiality rules.
In the future, the startup wants to work with big international businesses like Zillow, Airbnb and Booking, Shvets told the Kyiv Post.
Globally, online sales are on the rise — last year they accounted for around 75% of all retail profit in the U.S. Let’s Enhance attracted $3 million thanks to online sales, because online retailers need good photos.
The U.S. investment fund Chamaeleon led the recent funding round with the participation of Swedish venture capital fund Hype Ventures, Dutch investment fund Acrobator and American investor Margo Georgiadis.
Let’s Enhance will spend this money to add new features to Claid and hire more engineers and sales specialists to its team of 30 people, according to Shvets.
Earlier, the startup attracted a $300,000 grant from Amazon, Google and Microsoft and exchanged nearly 6% of its company into $120,000 from the world’s top business accelerator Techstars.
In 2018, Let’s Enhance raised an undisclosed amount of money from the Ukrainian fund Digital Future. Usually, the fund invests from $50,000 to $100,000 in early stage startups.
Let’s Enhance is a profitable startup, according to its founders. Now it wants to focus on growth. “For startups on our stage profitability is less important than the growth rate,” Shvets told the Kyiv Post.
When the Ukrainians founded the startup in 2018, they offered their service to ordinary users, but now they also sell it to businesses. “We switched to this model this year in response to the rapid growth of e-commerce,” Shvets said.
Businesses can connect Claid to their websites, paying a minimum of $100,000 for the annual subscription. Then the company’s algorithms can edit photos taken on different cameras and adjust them to the required quality and size.
The main competitors of Let’s Enhance are the U.S. companies Cloudinary and Imgix, according to Shvets. However, they only focus on one part of the process like the quality of image or size. Let’s Enhance, on contrary, edits the image more comprehensively.
It also constantly trains its algorithms to deliver better results.
The company doesn’t exclude new partnerships with its rivals Cloudinary and Imgix. “We can even be potential partners,” Shvets said.
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