We first met the Wirestock team through Sebouh Der Kiureghian, a former product manager at Amazon and someone Nina Achadjian, the partner at HIVE Ventures, grew up with in the Bay Area. Sebouh had been spending time in Armenia and started to tell us about a company he had been advising there. He showed us the deck, shared his experience working with the team and why he was so bullish on the idea.
We were, of course, intrigued. Although we get hundreds of inbound messages from startup founders each year, a warm intro from someone we respect is always a priority, so we set up a call with the Wirestock team the very next day.
Within minutes of listening to Mikayel Khachatryan and Vladimir Khoetsyan’s pitch, we knew we had to invest. Not only had the two of them come from the right technical backgrounds and domain expertise, they were also able to clearly articulate the problem, market size, and their path to building a billion-dollar business. More than anything, Mikayel and Vlad were passionate about Wirestock’s mission: enabling content creators to earn money for their work, seamlessly and at scale.
Wirestock is tailor-made to serve creatives in the stock content industry. If you’ve ever seen a billboard, read through a company’s brochure, or even browsed the picture frames section of Target, then you’ve certainly interacted with stock content. Stock images and designs have allowed businesses all over the world to create stunning marketing, promotional, and commercial materials for years. As the world continues to become increasingly digital, stock content has become even more pervasive, spreading to websites, blogs, TV commercials, and on and on. With the increasing number of mediums that businesses use to interact with their customers, the market for stock content only continues to grow — in 2018 alone, over $3 Billion was spent on stock photography globally, a number that’s expected to grow to over $5 Billion by 2024.
This growing market is fueled by the hard work of content creators, a group of over 1 million worldwide creatives responsible for most of the beautiful visuals that we see on a daily basis. Traditionally, these creators have been stuck with out-dated, inefficient, and time-consuming processes to distribute and sell their work. A typical selling experience includes spending hours uploading photos, tagging and writing descriptions for each photo entry individually, posting certain photos for sale on stock agency websites, and then managing these postings on an ongoing basis. This process has to be repeated for each stock agency website a creator would like to sell on (there are over 10 major stock agency websites).
At its core, Wirestock is a one-stop-shop for stock content creators (photographers and illustrators) to distribute their work online, seamlessly and at scale. Within seconds, content creators can upload their portfolio of content for distribution on the world’s largest stock content websites. Content is automatically tagged and described using Wirestock’s proprietary software. All submissions are managed through one single Wirestock account so that creatives can spend less time uploading, managing and selling content, and more time doing what they do best: creating.
All of us at HIVE believe in Wirestock’s transformative power for content creators around the world. This belief in the company and the founding team gave us the conviction to invest in Wirestock. Today, we’re excited to announce that HIVE is leading Wirestock’s first fundraising round. Our investment in Wirestock goes beyond capital — HIVE introduced the Wirestock team to top angel investors and mentors around the world, including Magdalena Yesil, Vahe Kuzoyan, Hovig Safoian, Argam DerHartunian, Vache Shirkian, Andrej Kiska, Ilya Golubovich, and Nerses Ohanyan, all of which chose to participate in this round of funding.
Congratulations to Mikayel, Vlad, Ashot, Hovhannes and the rest of the Wirestock team on their success to date and on completing their first fundraise. We are incredibly excited to welcome Wirestock to the HIVE family and look forward to partnering with the team for years to come.
Wirestock has already helped thousands of photographers make a living doing what they love and we can’t wait to see the team deliver that same quality experience to the rest of the world’s 1 million content creators.