Hilco Global and Partners acquire Scotland based online daily photo journal and social networking service Blipfoto.
New owners will invest and support the founder’s vision for the online photo journal.
Blipfoto (http://www.polaroidblipfoto.com), the Edinburgh, Scotland based online daily photo journal and social networking service, announced today that it has been acquired for an undisclosed amount by a US based investment group. The transaction is expected to secure a long term future for the innovative photo sharing platform and its extremely loyal online community.
Joe Tree, the founder of Blipfoto identified the new owners as recognized brand turnaround specialists Jeffrey B. Hecktman – CEO of Hilco Global and, Bobby Sager Partner a Director at Gordon Brothers. As co-investors and collaborators, both men have been actively involved in reinvigorating dozens of recognized brands including Polaroid, Polaroid Fotobar, Halston, HMV Records, and more.
Mr. Tree went on to say, “I am confident that as investors and leaders the new owners share my vision for the company and not only have the financial resources but also the creativity to support a long-term growth plan for Blipfoto. From the moment I met them both it was clear that they share the passion and enthusiasm that has been a hallmark of the Blipfoto online community.”
Both Hecktman and Sager are also investors in the Polaroid brand and the Polaroid Fotobar retail concept.
Mr. Hecktman is currently the Chairman and CEO of Hilco Global (www.hilcoglobal.com), a large privately held financial services company with 500 employees around the world. Hecktman is a recognized turnaround specialist who has restructured and revitalized many underleveraged consumer brands and retail companies and has completed billions of dollars’ of M&A, monetization and private equity transactions. Hecktman is a huge supporter of arts and education programs and was recently been executive producer of several Broadway shows.
Hecktman said “Blipfoto is an innovative idea with great upside potential. We seek to make investments in underleveraged brands where there is innovative technology and products and where the customer loyalty and connection is often stronger than the financial performance of the business itself.” He continued, “Blipfoto is a great example of a business where we can help develop a business building plan that delivers on the brands true potential.”
Mr. Sager served as President of Gordon Brothers from 1985 until 2000. During that time Sager served as the key leader of the retail restructuring practice, and is today considered to be one of the driving forces behind the overall success of the firm. Mr. Sager is a recognized philanthropist, best known for founding the Sager Family Traveling Foundation and Roadshow, a charitable organization supporting international relief efforts and causes. He is also a published photographer with a book titled The Power of the Invisible Sun – a collection of photographs of children in worn-town places in the world.
Sager, a photographer himself, said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to invest in such an innovative brand platform. “Blipfoto is more than a photo sharing site. The brand has created a genuine global community of people that want to tell their stories, through pictures, one day at a time” Sager said.
In January of 2015 the company announced a strategic marketing partnership with Polaroid, which is where Mr. Hecktman and Mr. Sager were first introduced to the brand and its management team. Hecktman said, “We got excited right away because we saw the power of this type of social network and the possibility of expanding it in whole new ways, including perhaps with another retail concept that Bobby (Sager) and I currently own called the Polaroid Fotobar.”
Mr. Tree indicated that he and his leadership team have been asked by the new owners to continue to play an active role in the company going forward. “I look forward to working with Mr. Hecktman and Mr. Sager on a smooth transition in the coming months and plan to make sure that the voice of the Blipfoto community is well represented in all future plans” Tree said.
Blipfoto was launched in 2006 by Mr. Tree and despite the recent financial challenges, it has been a fast-growing social media hub that allows people around the world keep a simple record of their daily life, by taking and sharing one photo to represent their day. The online company has grown into global community, delivering over 18 million page views a month, with tens of thousands of contributors from over 170 countries, who have recorded 5 million days of human history.
The website has won numerous awards and accolades throughout Europe. In 2009 the Blipfoto website won a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award in Scotland, was voted the best website in Scotland by The List Magazine in 2011, and has won numerous industry awards for its mobile apps.
Currently, Blipfoto is entirely free of advertising. There is a small monthly membership fee option offered which provides a whole host of added extras and functionality. Sager said “what truly distinguishes Blipfoto from other online photo platforms is the way in which community members use it to curate their images and record their lives.”
Today, Blipfoto is available across all mobile devices, with free apps for Android and iPhone, and can also be accessed via the web portal.
Gary C. Epstein
Chief Marketing Officer