Mooter Media, a digital media shop based in Australia, has announced $15M in US funding from San Francisco-based La Jolla Cove Investors, Inc. According to the company, this financing may represent one of the largest technology and online media investments in Australian corporate history.
But the funds are not staying in Australia. Aside from their service work, Mooter Media is a joint venture partner with the Hot Shot Media Group, the developer of a photo-focused networking, social gaming and contest platform that is based in San Francisco. The new funds will be directly used to expand Hot Shot Media's technical and development teams and commercialize, market and launch “ImageSocial,” a new social photography and gaming platform.
Having worked closely with La Jolla and its principals in formulating the agreement, it brings enormous satisfaction that a proven project investor such as La Jolla Cove has demonstrated such strong belief in our project, our capabilities and our specific plans to define social photography. The agreement is a resounding testament to our HSM management and development teams, and I am tremendously proud of both their progress and their dedication towards bringing ImageSocial to life. – Christopher Jermyn, Hot Shot Media CEO
The ImageSocial platform will initially serve as the launchpad of a huge online photo contest with lots of prizes – a global reality search for the most defining moments of our generation – that will launch in early 2012.
Down the road, the vision for ImageSocial is to “harness photos, their subjects and the attributes of those who capture them to bring the world together across all nations, all cultures and across all devices and social networking services and unify their interests, shared experiences and priceless memories. That's a lofty vision.
To leverage today's hottest trends, the company will include features such as geo-location and targeting, social and interactive gaming elements and more. Initially launching on the web, the mobile apps will roll out on iOS and Android platforms later this year.
While mobile apps are hot, the question is, can ImageSocial capture the loyalty of users and derive revenue for a sustainable product? Maybe. Aside from all the trendy features, ImageSocial will leverage the metadata of all the photos (eg, tags, geo-data, photographer info/location, etc.) to make connections between users around the web. Viewers and enthusiasts will vote on images they like and be offered photography-centric social games. As we've seen with other popular online games such as Farmville, perhaps the gamification aspects could hook people in with free games, but have compelling upsell opportunities driving revenue for the company.
From the draft mocks the team shared with Tech Cocktail (below), the product design direction looks to be quite visually rich, reminiscent of Fotopedia (formerly fotonauts).
We'll be sure to share more details about the platform and contest when it's closer to launch – look for big corporate partnerships, philanthropic tie-ins and of course, photogenic celebrities.