Artisse AI, which allows users to create self-portraits using uploaded photographs and suggestions, has received $6.7 Million as seed funding, riding high on the popularity of AI selfies. Artisse users can create new photos of themselves in different settings, poses, and styles using a text or image stimulus. The app is identical to others on the market, where users input photos of themself to train the AI. Artisse, in contrast to its rivals, is hell-bent on producing photorealistic photographs that may pass for actual shots in an emergency.
Behind the scenes, Artisse utilizes its proprietary model in conjunction with open-source models along with technologies, in addition to best practices. Artisse rose to the top of the Google Play Store picture app charts in multiple countries and regions at different points in time due to the photo app’s ability to generate incredibly lifelike photographs.
According to the business, the app has already been downloaded more than 200,000 times, and its pictures have been seen by almost 43 million people on social media. According to the website, more than 5 million photos have been created by users thus far.
William Wu, who had stints at Oaktree Capital and McKinsey & Co. in investing and strategy, was the original bootstrap founder of Artisse. Seeing that many people posted “perfect” photographs to dating or Instagram accounts encouraged the entrepreneur to create AI software, he told TechCrunch in September. But then it hit him: getting those kinds of outcomes with personal photography requires a lot of practice and skill. He envisioned a world where anyone using a smartphone could take stunning photos like that.
For this reason, Artisse’s training time is 30–40 minutes longer than its competitors, even if the AI images only take minutes to generate. According to Wu, this approach enables it to generate more lifelike visuals compared to competing products.
Wu is hoping this will be the unique selling point of Artisse. “Midjourny does well when it comes to landscapes and design work, but when it comes to people — the way to think about it is there’s a lot of different factors, and you need to build individual training sets for each of those factors.”
This means that Artisse’s model accounts for a wide range of contextual elements, such as racial/ethnic background, facial structure, skin tone, lighting, camera angle, composition, and more.
Furthermore, Wu notes that “There’s an incredible amount of work that’s required in terms of data collection, data tagging, knowing what makes a good camera photo versus not.” As pointed out by Wu, public domain imagery was used to train Artisse’s AI. “A lot of this is not about volume; it’s a lot about the quality of the image,” he explains.
Artisse faces challenges similar to those faced by other applications in this field, such as a need for more support for a wide range of body types and skin tones, which can be particularly problematic when users submit a reference photo of a thinner person. In the same vein, users of the popular app Remini complained that it gave them larger breasts or thinner bodies.
By creating photographs with real-world potential, Artisse hopes to differentiate itself from competitors like Remini and Lensa. Users could alter their racial identity or perform other inappropriate things with their images because the startup’s AI model is very adaptable. Not only is this not how most people are utilizing the product, but Wu insists he isn’t even encouraging it.
The majority of Artisse users, on the other hand, use the app to share self-portraits on social media. These photographs often include props like expensive cars or elaborate outfits that the users wouldn’t be able to pull off without the app. Artisse has an early user base that includes influencers and models, as well as companies that use AI photography to create advertisements.
At first, users could download 25 photographs for free, but later, the program started charging about 20 cents for each snap. That drew in a more laid-back demographic that dabbled with technology; according to Artisse, 60–70% of customers have been “light” users who only used the app once. The new business mechanism for the app involves subscribers, and among the 200K downloads, approximately 4,000 have made the transition.
Your monthly photo quotient can range from 25 to 370 at each of the three current tiers, which cost $7, $15, and $40, respectively. By December 2023, Artisse asserted that their revenue had tripled to $1 million ARR, and as of this month, they are on pace to exceed $2.5 million ARR.
Wu highlights two points: a relatively short payback period and rapid revenue growth. He predicts that “AI photography” will soon surpass photo editing apps in terms of popularity.
The London Fund, which has several consumer enterprises in its portfolio, spearheaded the $6.7 million seed investment round for the venture. Wu says the inbound investment made sense as the fund’s influencer marketing arm could assist with app marketing. People can still participate in the round.
The 22-person team’s plans include expanding the use of its AI technology beyond consumer photographs. Research into virtual fitting room technology for online clothing purchasing is underway, to allow users to “pose” with friends, family, or even famous people (with their permission) shortly. Another area of investigation is the possibility of creating physical printouts from images captured by AI. The AI app from Artisse is compatible with both Apple and Google devices.