Evening Standard: Popsa raises £3 million to disrupt photobooks market

A Soho-based tech company using artificial intelligence to shake-up the photobook market has raised £3 million from a clutch of top investors.

This article has been reposted from The Evening Standard

Popsa, founded in 2016, has clinched £2.2 million in a seed funding round led by Pembroke Venture Capital Trust, a backer of brands like Five Guys and Alexa Chung’s fashion label.

Famous ad man Sir John Hegarty, co-founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and top Silicon Valley VC funder 500 Startups have also backed the firm in a separate £800,000 funding round.

Popsa, led by 28-year old chief executive Liam Houghton, is aiming to “disrupt” incumbents like Photobox, Moonpig and Snapfish by using AI to cut down the laborious photobook process.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to change what is a very manual industry through automation,” said Houghton, a former architect who used to run a tech incubator.

“You can make a photo book but it will probably take you a few hours and you have to manually put the photos into place. We’re getting rid of all that and using technology to generate those things automatically.

"It's your best photo and memories automatically curated and made into products you can buy."

Sales have grown by 60% a month over the past year and nearly one in two customers come back for more, Houghton says.

The 11-strong company plans to move into other products like calendars later this year and will spend the money raised to speed up use of AI technology.

Pembroke VCT is led by Andrew Wolfson, the brother of Next chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson, and owned by Peter Dubens' Oakley Capital.