Heritage Image takes GBP3.25m 2nd round

Online picture library, Heritage Image Partnership (HIP) has secured a second round of funding worth GBP3.25 million. HIP provides access to the picture and photographic collections of leading British museums, art galleries and libraries. The round was led by venture capital trust manager VCF Partners and arranged by early stage high tech investor, MTI. Gartmore Fund Managers, e-Technology VCT and Enterprise VCT also participated.

HIP is an e-commerce enabled digital picture library that gives professional image users such as newspapers and advertising companies access to digital images from the collections of leading British heritage institutions. The founding supplier institutions are The British Library, the National Museum of photography film & Television, the Science Museum, the National Railway Museum, The National Monuments Record of English Heritage, the Corporation of London Libraries, the Guildhall Art Gallery and, most recently, the Royal Photographic Society.

HIP received start-up capital of around GBP1 million in May 2000, when it was spun out of MTI investee company iBase Image Systems Limited, which developed the basis for the proprietary technology used by the company. Further development work has been carried out by HIP to fully customise the technology that facilitates storage and database management of digital images, including sound and moving images. The technology enables users to quickly and easily search for images, select those they wish to use, purchase the user rights and then have them delivered in whatever digital format required.

The company has excellent growth prospects for the future, said David Ward, investment manager with MTI. He added: “Heritage Image Partnership is a unique offering addressing a considerable market opportunity. It has already attracted some of the leading British heritage institutions and we anticipate that many others will wish to offer their archive images to the site.”