D’Amelio Family Gets Equity Deal In Lightricks, A Little-Known Social Media Unicorn

A while back, Dixie D’Amelio, the social media star, noticed something strange happening online: Somtimes her fans would repost her own images with retouched ones noticeably better than her originals.

“I would post a picture, and two seconds later, there’d be a whole different edit out there,” she says. “I watched the people who follow me creating these amazing edits, and I was always fascinated by it.”

Some of the followers she was following were actually using Lightricks apps, which is an Israeli startup that’s not well-known. She realized this with her family and Marc. Now, in a bit of can’t-beat-’em-join-’em spirit, the D’Amelios have struck a deal to become advisors and brand ambassadors for Lightricks in exchange for equity in the company and an upfront cash payment, negotiations that began late last year. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

For Lightricks, an alliance with the D’Amelios will be helpful as the company makes a push for greater recognition—and more users—in America and elsewhere amid a packed field of competitors. The US is home to 40% of Lightricks’ 30 million users. Lightricks is a popular company that offers photo and video editing apps such as Facetune, Videoleap, and more. It was founded in 2013. It raised $130 million in capital last September from Goldman Sachs and Graycroft, which valued the company at $1.9billion. But it remains little known outside of its native Israel and hopes tying itself to the D’Amelios will help bolster its profile.

Lightricks needs all the star power it can get: It hopes to shift from making software for amateur social media users to users interested in earning money as social media creators, like the D’Amelios have. This presses Lightricks up against giant corporations like TikTok and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, both of which offer their own suite of in-app editing tools, and smaller companies making similar software, like VSCO. Other social media startups are following the same path, tying themselves to famous people in the industry. Triller, another app for short-form videos, gave millions to TikTok’s stars in order to encourage them to use its technology. The company also offered equity and the title of chief strategist to Josh Richards who was eager to endorse it and provide advice about its features.

For the D’Amelios, the tie-in is more straightforward. They’ve sought to expand the family’s commercial potential beyond TikTok, the origin of Charli and Dixie’s fame. The pair was ranked No. 1. and 2. No. 2 and 1 on the latest TikTokers list, earning more than $25 million each in 2021. Charli signed a similar agreement for equity in Step. In addition to $50 million Series B financing, she also participated in the bank-for-teens app’s development. They also own a profitable joint venture with Hollister Social Tourist to produce teen clothes.

First up for Lightricks, the D’Amelios have counseled the app on a new feature it plans to launch next month, a so-called link-in-bio tool, essentially an easy-to-construct Web page for creators to house content from across social media, says Lightricks founder and CEO Zeev Farbman. “We want Lightricks to be associated with creators,” he says. “And creator success.”

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