Desks booked: 6
Type of space: Private office in coworking space
We talked to Olga at Lobster about how they picked a new perfect office through Hubble three times (and counting) due to their fast-paced growth and location requirements for customer meetings.
Lobster is a platform which enables brands, agencies and the media to licence visual content directly from social media users. Using pioneering AI technology, it trawls through all the main social networks, along with several of the largest cloud storage providers and returns billions of affordable images and videos in an instant.
To learn more, visit Lobster.
Can you tell me a bit more about Lobster? What is it that you do and what is your vision for the company?
Olga: Lobster is a marketplace for social media content. We launched at TechCrunch in December 2014 to connect photographers on social media platforms with those that want to buy stock photos. We want to help make finding local content that shows diversity a simple process.
Our vision is to build a global platform that solves the problem of social media piracy by connecting content creators with businesses that want to use that content. With Lobster, content creators sign up and consent to sell their online content across 10 different platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and VK.
At the moment, businesses can use hashtags, titles, comments and geolocation for finding the images they need. We’re currently working on developing an AI that can filter by colour palate, people, gender, age, emotion, and so on. We’re also enabling machine-learning based quality ranking that helps determine content quality in a scattered social media space.
Lobster helps businesses by providing them with an alternative option to traditional stock image sites, saving time on manually chasing people to get photo usage permission. We also want benefit to content creators who can earn money from their content and be encouraged to create more quality pieces.
How did the idea for Lobster come about?
Olga: The idea came to me when I was working for DHL in marketing. I was working with images and found them to be standard. For example, we were using Caucasian faces to advertise to an Asian market. The stock images that were available to us did not seem to reflect real society. Noticing this gap in the market, we interviewed our friends at ad agencies about the feasibility of our idea, and with the backgrounds of our founders, it all just came together.
Before my MBA, I was doing a photography startup with my father. Our co-founder, Marie, used to be a designer who often worked with images, and Andre, our third co-founder, is a huge fan of photography. Together, and thanks to Wayra Accelerator, we built a full version of the product.
How are you and your team liking working at Rocketspace?
Olga: We really like the vibe of Rocketspace. I find it ideal because it’s both a coworking space and a tech hub with hundreds of startups. The atmosphere is calm, airy, and professional in look and feel. Our space is not hectic and distracting like some coworking spaces can be and houses a great community of tech entrepreneurs – it’s nice to have like-mind people to discuss the same issues such as growth and investment with. We also like that Rocketspace originates from the US, so we have lots of connections that match our expansion strategy.
We currently house our tech team in Moscow, have several remote staff and interns, and about 6 people who use our office in Rocketspace.
Why did you choose to set up in Angel? What drew you to this neighbourhood?
Olga: We work mainly with creative agencies, which are mostly located around Soho and Central London. We were first located at Wayra, our accelerator at Tottenham Court Road and then near Camden. Being in this area makes it easy for us to go to meetings with our customers. We considered locating ourselves in Shoreditch due to its high volume of tech startups, but it wasn’t quite the right location for us as it’s a bit too far to meet our partners.
We chose Angel because the area is up-and-coming, not quite as hectic and far from our customers as Shoreditch. It’s quiet and between the points where we need to be. Plus, we like the space.
This is the third time you’ve booked through Hubble. What did you like about the Hubble experience?
Olga: We subleased our last two offices from Hubble but at some point, it began to feel isolated as it was always just the Lobster team. We wanted a space where there was a community like in an accelerator but could also provide the privacy of our own office so we’re not all sitting in an open space. When Rocketspace opened, we visited, they gave up a good deal, and we made our decision to take an office in the space.
We like the way Hubble works in that it’s all an automated search with area, price range, and desk number filters, and that viewing bookings can all be made online. During our office search, we spent hours looking at a variety of platforms but couldn’t find anything as useful.
What’s next for Lobster?
Olga: We’re working on active growth in terms of awareness and customers and raising a new round of investment. One of our biggest customers are in Germany; we’re in the US, mainly New York and Los Angeles where we have people on the ground and would like to grow more there. We’re also looking at expending into Latin America because we think they have a limited selection of local faces when it comes to imagery.
We’re also working on developing our AI and automating work in photo and video to provide more value for our customers.