Soona photo services company expansion includes addition of 60 workers in Minneapolis
To meet demand for his virtual photo and video shooting services, Minneapolis-born Soona leased 13,000 square feet of real estate in the Twin Cities for a digital performance studio.
The company, founded in 2019 by Liz Giorgi and Hayley Anderson, recently finalized its lease to occupy space in the Fisk Building on East Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. After modernizing its new digs, the company will open the studio in August, Giorgi said.
Soona announced last month that it had secured $ 10.2 million in a Series A funding round to support the expansion. The round was led by New York-based Union Square Ventures and included follow-on investments from Matchstick Ventures in Minneapolis, Chicago’s Starting Line Ventures, 2048 Ventures, also in New York, and Range Ventures, based in Denver.
The new capital will also be used to hire at least 60 additional employees in Minneapolis and to add staff to its growing teams in Denver and Austin. In addition to hiring, the money will be used to further develop the company’s cloud-based camera software and other new services.
Soona will use the digital processing studio for client intake and to stage and create content for various brands. Brands ship their products to Soona sites to be photographed or filmed for marketing and online sales. Parts of the new Minneapolis studio will be built to look like bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens, “spaces that help e-commerce brands tell the story of their product and how it fits.” in people’s lives, ”said Giorgi, CEO of the company.
Customers are invited to join the real-time photo and video sessions through a web browser, where they can provide feedback in real time. Soona prepares these images and videos for purchase in 24 hours, and each photo costs $ 39, while each video clip costs $ 93. With its à la carte model, Soona allows customers to buy only the photos or videos they want.
People can also use Soona studios for personal photography.
The 60 new positions in Minneapolis will be a variety of creative roles, including designers, photographers and videographers, but also entry-level roles for recent college graduates hoping to enter the creative industry, said Giorgi. The company will also add technical staff to support daily production at the studio.
New hires for its Denver unit will be largely focused on business operations, given that the company’s chief financial officer is there, Giorgi said. By the end of 2021, Soona could have around 90 workers combined in the three cities.
Last summer, Soona, which now has 4,000 customers, launched its pro services marketplace, which serves as a model directory. Through the Marketplace, brands can add models to photo shoots “with one click,” said Giorgi, who said the Marketplace is one of the new services it will invest in. The company has so far integrated over 400 models, which include hand models and even dogs.
Soona’s customer base grew 350% in 2020, while its revenue increased 400%, Giorgi said. Similar growth is expected for 2021. The sales boom is the result of winning over a wide range of new customers who needed to boost their online sales during the pandemic, she said, mainly because consumers were forced to shop online while stores were. closed during COVID-19 lockouts.
Soona’s same-day virtual content delivery platform gives the company an edge over traditional photo studios during the pandemic, Giorgi said. “A lot of traditional marketers and a lot of traditional creatives might have had it in their heads that a massive photoshoot in a studio environment they rented out all day was the only way to go about it,” he said. she declared.
Nick Williams • 612 673-4021