Indonesian photography startup SweetEscape snags $6m Series A to build AI capabilities

SweetEscape founders Emile Etienne and David Soong

Indonesia-headquartered on-demand photography platform SweetEscape has secured a Series A funding round of $6 million co-led by Openspace Ventures and Jungle Ventures.

The round was also participated by Burda Principal Investments, as well as existing investors that participated in its seed funding round in 2017, including East Ventures, Beenext, Skystar Capital, and GDP Venture.

DEALSTREETASIA broke the news hours before the announcement came in.

Founded in 2017, SweetEscape aims to build a global photography platform that will bring accessibility and change the way consumers appreciate memories and photographers globally manage their business.

The business was first established to allow consumers to discover local photographers while traveling and to ensure the memories are captured by locally curated professional photographers.

Today, the company claims to have serviced thousands of customers across over 500 cities with thousands of photographers in its network within the past two years.

“I have been a photographer for the past 20 years. 70% of a photographer’s time is spent not taking photos. Our platform makes their lives easier – with us handling 80% of the photographer’s workflow and post-production – increasing photographers’ productivity and income and allowing them to pursue their passion,” said SweetEscape CEO and co-founder David Soong, who along with the fellow co-founder Emile Etienne were also founders of Bridestory, a wedding marketplace startup recently acquired by e-commerce giant Tokopedia.

To accelerate and automate the post-production process, Soong said SweetEscape will start to leverage AI technology, the development of which will be financed proceed by the new funding round. The company says it is focused on being the first AI imaging technology in the region to lead the innovation and the transformation in this $80 billion photography industry.

Additionally, the fresh capital will also be used to strengthen SweetEscape’s presence across Asia by doubling the size of its 100-man team, currently spread across Jakarta, Singapore, and Manila, while also exploring opportunities in new markets.

With its geographical expansion, the company has also started to expand its range of services, moving into the business photography segment, providing food photography, real-estate photography, headshots and more – servicing a growing portfolio of regional and global clients that includes WeWork, P&G and HSBC.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.