Having developed two apps - Enlight and Facetune that were both among the top ten paid apps in over 90 countries - Tel Aviv-based Lightricks is one of the most buzzed about startups on the tech scene. So what exactly has catapulted Lightricks into the spotlight? Enlight is a full mobile photo editor with advanced professional tools, while Facetune is meant for selfies and improving headshots. Basically they make photo editing easy and accessible. We spoke with CMO Nir Pochter to find out more about his Instagram enhancing apps.
Can you tell us a little bit about your company background?
Lightricks was founded by four PhD students and a Supreme Court clerk and we realized that if we applied the tools and techniques we were pioneering in academia we could create a product that truly lived up to the 'game changing' description that so many other products labeled themselves as. Facetune and Enlight are our attempts to bring major technological advances in computer vision into the hands of consumers around the world.
How did you connect with your co-founders?
Four out of five of us were PhD students studying computer science together at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of our founders was close friends with a Supreme Court law clerk who complemented our skill set perfectly.
Can you talk us through a bit about how you came to develop your apps?
Two of our founders were leaving a lab at 2:00am in the morning after an incredibly long night working on their research. In moment of frustration-driven clarity, they realized that if they dedicated the same time and effort towards building a company, they could be bringing their work to tens of millions of people worldwide, not to mention making millions of dollars themselves. Essentially, at a certain point during our studies, we realized that there was a huge gap between the cutting edge computational photo technology, which existed in academia, and the apps and programs available to the end mobile user.
Our goal was to narrow the gap between the latest developments in computational photography and what was accessible to the user.
Can you explain the basics of Enlight and Facetune? Who are your primary users?
Lightricks’s technology combines state-of-the-art photo editing software with an incredibly user-friendly and intuitive user experienc. Facetune enables users to retouch photo portraits in a number of ways – from basic teeth whitening, blemish removal and red-eye removal, to more advanced features like adjusting lighting, reshaping facial features and hiding gray hair. Enlight allows complete, professional-quality photo touch-ups, and features a trove of tools not found on any mobile app – and a few not even yet seen on desktop editing apps.
Our users pretty much encompass all types – from professional photographers to users who just want to improve their vacation pictures.
Are you active on social media? Has social media helped you guys figure out your users' needs?
We definitely are and it definitely has. Social media platforms are a major hub of photo sharing, so we keep a close eye on trends and behavior throughout the various platforms. Facetune and Enlight have been hashtagged a combined 150,000 times on Instagram with our Twitter response also being very powerful. Easily trackable analytics of real users and how they’re employing our apps and sharing the results with others make it easy to get feedback on what our users are doing, what they love, and where we can improve our products. It allows us to really develop a relationship with our users, something that has been critical to our success and growth.
From a business perspective, Facebook has been invaluable for reaching new users and getting the word out. In fact so much so, that Facebook uses us for their case study on user acquisition.
For the everyday user, can you highlight some ways they could use your apps to improve their social media presence?
How we represent ourselves on social media and online has become such an integral part of our personal and professional identities, and both Enlight and Facetune empower people to get the most out of their internet image. Online, it’s all about garnering interest by presenting something interesting or beautiful, whether it be visual or written content of some kind, or pure self-promotion. An original and creative user profile is the most important first step, and our apps – especially used in tandem – offer limitless options of unique personal artistry and self-expression, with no expertise required. The web is defined by its minute attention span and its jostling need for attention-grabbing originality. We provide the tools for creating truly unique and fresh content – both for profile pictures and now with Enlight, any kind of image content.
It's incredible that both of your apps have been among the top ten paid apps in over 100 countries. With so many apps out there how did you go about gaining awareness?
First and foremost, we worked tirelessly to ensure that our product was of the highest quality and that the user experience was visually appealing and technically intuitive. What it really boils down to is, no matter how saturated the market is, if you give people a great technology that comes with a great user experience, then people want the product.
There has been some level of backlash against altering selfies etc. Thoughts?
We feel strongly that technology is morally agnostic, in that it’s really all about how it is used. People should have access to cutting edge technology as it rolls out and be empowered to decide for themselves how to best put it to use.