By Alex Heath
VSCO is a rocket ship.
The popular photo-editing app has already hit 2 million paid subscribers after crossing the 1 million subscribers threshold in the first quarter of 2018, the company announced on Thursday.
“It’s really a testament to how consumer-driven we are,” VSCO CEO Joel Flory told Cheddar at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal. “VSCO has always been about the creator.”
The VSCO X subscription costs $20 per year and features tutorials on photography and other creative functions. Before pivoting to subscriptions, VSCO offered its high-quality, film-camera-like filters as in-app purchases. The subscription was just made available in the first quarter of last year, making it one of the fastest growing consumer subscription services of all time, according to Flory.
75 percent of VSCO’s user base is under the age of 25, and 80 percent of users live outside of the United States. The subscription model only started to make sense recently, after Apple ($APPL) and Google’s ($GOOGL) Android have rolled out software tools for their app stores that have made it easier for an app like VSCO to scale its business, Flory said.
VSCO has raised $70 million from investors like Accel since its 2014 inception, and now the business is operating at break-even, according to Flory. But the road to getting there hasn't been exactly smooth. In January 2017, VSCO abruptly closed its New York City office and laid off some employees.
VSCO now employs about 130 people, CEO Flory told Cheddar. And earlier this year, the company hired its first Chief Marketing Officer in Tesa Aragones, a former brand director at Nike. Allison Swope, an ex-product manager from Facebook's Growth team, also joined as Vice President of Product.
To capitalize on its recent growth, Oakland, California-based VSCO is also looking to make custom apps for specific phone-makers, as evidenced by its recent partnership with Samsung. And in terms of how big its subscription can get, Flory said the company is eyeing every smartphone user who values having a quality camera.
“If you’re spending a couple hundred dollars on a phone, $20 to be more creative and take better photos? We see that as an opportunity."
For the full video interview with VSCO CEO Joel Flory, click here.