It has been a big year so far for VSCO, the San Francisco-based startup that bills itself as “for creatives, by creatives.” Best known for its award-winning mobile photo editor, the company just announced it is expanding its Artist Initiative–a scholarship fund that helps artists get their creative projects off the ground–from $100,000 to $1 million.
So far, more than one thousand people have applied for the fund, and only 12 projects have been selected. The increase in capital can be attributed to a $40 million series A investment from Accel Partners, announced today.
“Through the course of many conversations, we realized how closely aligned our visions were for creating a strong, creative-centric ecosystem that focused on art and artist,” wrote VSCO cofounder Joel Flory in an email. “We’ve been cash-flow positive from day one, without the need for any external investment, but as our community has grown, so has our desire to develop new products, improve our international infrastructure, and increase our investment in the Artist Initiative.”
You might know VSCO from the #VSCOCam hashtag on Instagram, where the company says more than 30 million images brandishing the #VSCO or #VSCOCam hashtag have been shared. In February, VSCO launched an in-app social network called Grid. And shortly after, it announced that it was taking its first round of applications for its artist fund. “We come from creative backgrounds (illustrators, designers, photographers, etc.) so trying to do our part to encourage, promote, and support the creative community is something that resonates with us,” VSCO cofounder Greg Lutze told Fast Company in March. “We believe that we are part of the creative community, and if we are to win as a company, we do so alongside creatives. We are in this together.”