Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated that Microsoft Ventures led the investing round. It was a participant in the round but did not lead it.
Pickit pulls together images from a variety of sources, including a global community of photographers, and clears them for free, legal use on Windows 10 and Microsoft Office programs. The company said in a blog post that the funding will help it build an even larger bank of images.
“Seamless management of photo content across different products is becoming increasingly important,” Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president of Microsoft Ventures, said in a statement. “Pickit’s offering and their strong team are already helping Microsoft Office users increase their productivity by streamlining what was a cumbersome and time-consuming process. We can’t wait to see what they do next.”
In addition to its home base in Visby, Sweden, Pickit established an office in Microsoft’s backyard of Bellevue, Wash. when one of the company’s co-founders, Mathias Björkholm, moved there in 2015 to work closer to the technology giant. Three people work out of that office, and Björkholm spends most of his time on the Microsoft campus in nearby Redmond.
Pickit’s ties to Microsoft go back even further than that. The two companies have been working together since 2013, and Pickit’s image service runs on Microsoft Azure.
In addition to its free service, Pickit has an individual plan with greater customization and higher resolution photos for at a monthly cost of $1.99 and an enterprise version starting at $50 per month.
The idea for the company goes back to 2012, when co-founders Henrik Bergqvist and Björkholm, an art director and an IT pro respectively, wanted to spice up their presentations with top-notch photos. They were often disappointed with what they found, and didn’t have a lot of success with existing stock image services either. So they did what any good entrepreneurs do when they find themselves frustrated with a certain market, they set out to fix it.
The company was established the following year and has since grown to a total of 25 employees. In 2014, Pickit raised $3 million under the name PicHit.Me.