Crowdfunding raises £120,000
Blipfoto saved by social network fans
A crowdfunding exercise has raised more than £120,000 to establish a “community interest company”, Blipfuture. It is thought to be the first time such a buy-out has taken place – social media users working together to save their community from closure.
Daily Business revealed the cash call in December after the social network collapsed into administration just months after signing a partnership deal with Polaroid that saw it rebranded as Polaroid Blipfoto.
All 11 staff lost their jobs but a group of US investors bought the technological expertise and intellectual property which underpins the site which allows users to upload an image each day to chronicle their lives.
The Blipfuture team of Annie Andrews, Graham Colling, Bob Hamilton and Ian Stevenson said it is now owned by the people who use it.
They said the fundraising, via the Edinburgh-based ShareIn crowdfunding platform, has given them enough working capital to keep it running until a more permanent solution is found.
Blipfoto was created in 2004 by Joe Tree and Graham Maclachlan, originally as Mr Tree’s personal diary. In 2006 they invited some friends to join the site, and it expanded rapidly by word of mouth. Along the way Blipfoto won many awards including a BAFTA and commendations from Digital Camera and Photography Week.
In 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.
In January 2015 the site re-branded as Polaroid Blipfoto after negotiating a licensing agreement with the American company, but in March last year the company went into liquidation.