Social media users have succeeded in their effort to buy Edinburgh-founded photo sharing website Blipfoto after raising more than £120,000.
A “community interest company”, Blipfuture CIC, was created by a small group of users last year after the social network collapsed into administration just months after signing a partnership deal with Polaroid that saw it rebranded as Polaroid Blipfoto.
Following its collapse, which saw all 11 staff lose their jobs, a group of US investors behind several Polaroid brand properties bought the “technological expertise and intellectual property” underpinning the site, including the treasured photo journals of its millions of users, who are able to upload a single image each day to chronicle their lives.
The team behind Blipfuture – Annie Andrews, Graham Colling, Bob Hamilton and Ian Stevenson – said the takeover marked the culmination of almost five months’ “intensive work” and the social network is now owned by the people who use it each day. They said the fundraising, run via the Edinburgh-based ShareIn crowdfunding platform, has allowed Blipfuture to buy the site and “provide enough working capital to keep it running while they consult with users on future developments”.
Stevenson, one of Blipfuture’s directors, said: “When the owners contacted us back in October we knew immediately that we had to mount a bid.
“We‘ve been working feverishly for almost five months to make this happen. We are really excited now we have exchanged contracts and made this a reality. The site’s future running costs will be paid through subscription fees.”
Blipfoto was created in 2004 by Joe Tree and Graham Maclachlan. Before its collapse the company had raised about £900,000 through four fundraising rounds to accelerate its expansion. At the end of 2013 ESM Investments led a £200,000 cash injection that included technology entrepreneur Ian Ritchie, the Scottish Investment Bank and Ken Morse, one of US president Barack Obama’s entrepreneurship advisers.
Blipfuture said that the outlook for the social network’s archive of images and journals would have been “uncertain” if the crowdfunding initiative had not been successful.
Colling, the communications director for the buyout team, said: “We are extremely grateful to the owners for making the offer to the membership and for supporting the site’s operation during the crowdfunding.
“We now have the exciting prospect of working with the community to re-establish Blipfoto as the premier site to keep a daily photographic journal.”