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Texas-based Waldo Photo Closes $5 Million Seed Funding

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(Credit: Loop Images/UIG via Getty Images) American flag and Texas flag flying at the LBJ Library in Austin.Texas
January 23
4:12 AM 2016

Waldo Photos, an Austin, Texas-based tech company closes its seed funding round on Thursday. The Upfront Ventures lead the seed funding and raised $5 million.

The company was founded by Rodney Rice and Michael Beaudoin who have been working together for more than 20 years. Rodney Rice started his career as a financial analyst at Merril Lynch, while Michael Beaudoin was an associate in Pfingsten private equity firm. Together, they founded Home Advisor, a marketplace for home improvement contractor in 1998. Home Advisor was first named as Service Magic before rebranded into Home Advisor in 2012.

In 2004, InterActive Corp. (IACI) acquired Home Advisor. Together, Rice and Beaudoin successfully built Home Advisor to become a company with $250 million annual revenues and more than 1,200 employees.

Now, the Rice and Beaudoin duo is preparing to launch their new concept of photo finding platform which they called Waldo Photos. Rodney Rice explained his reason to establisha a photo finding platform to Tech Crunch the he and his family often went to many events where professional photos were taken, "but it's very difficult to get your hands on those photos," he said.

In regard to its $5 million seed funding, a partner at Upfront Ventures Kara Nortman said, "Rodney and Michael are one of the best teams I've worked with in my career. They're one of the few who truly understand how to build large commercial businesses in complicated vertical marketplaces."

PR Newswire reported that Waldo Photos platform will be the only photo-finding platform to unite consumers with every photo taken of them by others. The platform will enable users to enjoy their most memorable events taken by professional photographers, and they surely will receive high quality photos. Therefore, a selfie sticks will no longer be options to take memorable photo for an event.

Waldo Photos also give option for users to collect photos taken by friends. Those photos along with the ones taken by professional photographers will be sent to their smartphones.

As for professionals, Waldo provide the gig economy for professional photographers to monetize their photos in a new and innovative way. This will increase the sell-through rates, thus empowering existing professional photography.

In technology point-of-view, Venture Beat equate the Waldo Photos to Facebook's Photo Magic. Since Waldo Photos uses an algorithm to locate a matching person, and send the photos directly to users smartphone, without users have to track people on their own.

Founded by two veterans, combined by its seed funding from Upfront Ventures, Waldo Photos will create an interesting disruption to the selfie sticks. Waldo Photos might replace selfie sticks as the most reliable tools for taking memorable pictures. 

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