Stock photo site Shutterstock files for IPO

Steven Loeb · May 14, 2012 · Short URL:

Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Jefferies are bookrunners for the $115M IPO

When Facebook bought Instagram for a billion dollars in cash, it became clear that photo-sharing apps would be the next hot thing. We even tried to predict which photography apps and services would be the next to hit it big.

Well, here is one that we missed. 

Online stock photo website Shutterstock is planning on going public, it announced on its company blog on Monday.

“As the founder and CEO of Shutterstock, I am pleased to share that today we filed an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a formal document that describes our business and our plans to pursue an initial public offering, or IPO,” Jon Oringer wrote.

Shutterstock declared that it had not yet determined how many shares would be offered, or at what price.

The company plans to raise a $115 million IPO, it said in its SEC filing.

Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank Securities and Jefferies will be the bookrunning managers of the IPO, with RBC Capital Markets, Stifel Nicolaus Weisel and William Blair as co-managers.

The company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "SSTK".

Who is Shutterstock?

The New York-based Shutterstock was founded in 2003, and is currently available in 10 languages and over 150 countries. It had over 550,000 customers in 2011, a 71% increase from the year prior, who have downloaded images from the site more than 200 million times.

In 2011, the company had a net income $21.8 million out of over $120 million in revenue. Revenue has gone up every year since at least 2007, when revenue was $30 million, a quarter of what it was last year.

Shutterstock allows its users, who are professional photographers, illustrators and videographers, to upload photos to the site, which are then sold as stock photos in pre-paid plans to businesses and marketing agencies.

What sets this site apart from regular photo sharing applications is that not everyone can join. Contributors must apply and be approved. The contributors earn 25 cents a photo, which goes up as they hit earning plateaus. Paying users can download up to 25 photos per day and 750 per month.  

The application is available on desktop and iPad.

Shutterstock did not come out of nowhere, and has been slowly building itself up over the past few years.

In 2009, Shutterstock purchased one of its rivals, Bigstock, and in 2011 it entered into a partnership with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGI) a professional design organization.

We attempted to reach out to Shutterstock, but the company has gone into what they are calling a “quiet period.”

“During this time, SEC rules prohibit us from discussing or releasing certain information, including topics related to a potential offering. We appreciate your understanding that we will not be able to respond to related questions posted in the forums or elsewhere,” Oringer wrote on his blog.

(Image source:

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