EyeEm Has Filed for Bankruptcy – What Happened?

eyeem logo > EyeEm Has Filed for Bankruptcy - What Happened?

The German mobile stock photo marketplace/photo-centered community and tech platform, EyeEm, has reportedly declared bankruptcy. 

This comes just one year after being sold to Swiss investment firm New Value –a.k.a Talenthouse AG– and while the new parent company has been struggling financially for a while as well. 

The EyeEm brand was once a strong competitor to the likes of Instagram and Shutterstock but is now, apparently, doomed. What happened? 

This is what we know. 

EyeEm Declares Bankruptcy Amidst Complaints of Unpaid Contributor Royalties

According to the German branch of Business Insider, the Berlin-based company EyeEm has recently filed for bankruptcy. 

If you have not followed this brand closely, it might come as a surprise –it was once a high-profile and very promising tech startup– but there have been reports of financial struggle on the platform for a while now: photographers selling their work on the EyeEm marketplace have complained about not being paid for their sales for months since last year. 

EyeEm’s parent company Talenthouse AG addressed those complaints publicly, blaming accounting issues and “global events” for the missing payments to contributors. 

Signs of Struggle in EyeEm for Years

As we timely reported, EyeEm was acquired by Swiss investment company New Value AG –trading as Talenthouse AG– in March 2021 and rebranded into EyeEm by Talenthouse. It was disclosed at the time that the firm paid $40 Million for the purchase. 

Yet, only a few months later, Talenthouse valuated EyeEm in a single-digit million amount. 

Furthermore, Talenthouse AG’s stock value has reportedly been on the decline for a while.

Beyond the strictly financial problems, the firm had also faced leadership and directional issues for years. In 2020, they underwent a restructuring phase, in which both founders left (they are now behind Aware, a health monitoring app and it seems its early days are as successful and promising as their previous project). From then and going through the acquisition by Talenthouse AG, EyeEm saw multiple CEOs and Managing Directors. According to the bankruptcy filing, the company is currently leaderless. 

EyeEm’s Rise and… Fall?

EyeEm was founded in 2011 as a photo-sharing mobile app and gained a lot of traction and notoriety in very little time. First, it exploded as an Instagram competitor when the latter issued the infamous update in its terms of use that sought to sell users’ photos for its own profit – this saw a mass migration of users from Instagram to EyeEm, which even surpassed the camera-icon social network in app downloads in the US at one point. Soon, EyeEm had tens of millions of users, even more millions of images, and was securing very juicy funding rounds. 

Later on, they dubbed into the stock photo industry, inaugurating a marketplace for users to license their images. As their library was packed with the at-the-time super sought-after, mobile-styled photos, and they pushed for a polished, high-end aesthetic, it soon got distribution partnerships with giants like Getty Images and its sister company iStock. It soon signed up millions of photographers as contributors and looked at competing with lead players like Shutterstock. 

They were also one of the first companies to incorporate visual AI technology to improve user experience, from image search to auto-tagging to automatic photo editing and enhancement. 

It’s unclear when the hype started to die down or how or when the issues started.

Is EyeEm Going for Good?

As EyeEm by Talenthouse is a brand and company owned by a larger firm (New Value, a.k.a Talenthouse AG), it’s not certain what will happen to it now that it’s declared insolvent. 

At the time of writing, the EyeEm website is still up, the marketplace appears still active, and even the contributor portal's sign-up forms seem to be working.

However, it’s safe to say that the golden days of EyeEm are gone and that its users and contributors can forget about seeing much activity or receiving royalty payments from the platform, not for a while anyway. 

Were you surprised to learn this about EyeEm? Share your thoughts!

Ivanna Attié
Ivanna Attié

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in StockPhotoSecrets.com and Stock Photo Press and its many stock media-oriented publications. I am a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Lucky enough to enter the wonderful world of stock photography working side-by-side with experienced experts, I am happy to share my research, insights, and advice about image licensing, stock photography offers, and the stock media industry with everyone in the creative community. My background is in Communication and Journalism, and I also love literature and performing arts.

  1. Reply Avatar of Carrie "Trespassing Phito'
    Carrie "Trespassing Phito' April 19, 2023 at 5:53 am

    I’m worried. I have over 10,000 images in my gallery. I don’t know how to recover all my photos nor do I have any place to store them.

    • Hi Carrie, as our article says, the EyeEm platform is still very much online and working properly, so your images are not at risk of being deleted at this time. We suggest you contact the EyeEm help center and see if they can assist you with a way to safely download and store your photos (a cloud service, for example). Hope this helps!

  2. I have many images that are with their ‘Partner Collections’ such as Getty etc. They are no longer reporting sales or paying out on collected money that they hold.
    They are not responding to emails asking for images to be removed from sale.
    These images are still selling but contributors are not getting paid.

  3. Correct, they have removed my images that were on Getty. In the slow process of migrating the images to other sites but it is a lot of work and some permissions are impossible to get. There are images I can only have on there. It would be nice to have an update on whether they will exist or are going to close down. I noticed the Facebook connection doesn’t load now on the web page app, luckily my Google app is still connected.

  4. Did someone manage to get it’s collection downloadable ?

  5. Can anyone advise on another platform we can sell images on, the same way we used to do on EyeEm?

  6. EyeEm is dead. It’s been 3 months and they haven’t approved/rejected any new photos and they don’t reply on emails anymore.

  7. Reply Avatar of David Anthony Edwards
    David Anthony Edwards September 25, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    Having uploaded over 100 photos recently toEyeem I was shocked to hear that Eyeem is in financial difficulties. I have been trying to contact Eyeem directly by E mail to clarify the situation, but am not getting any replies. If I don’t hear within the next few days I will be deleting all of my pictures and transfer them all to another website
    If anyone reading this could clarify whether this is the end of the road for Eyeem I would appreciate a reply.

    • Hi David, I recommend that you might want to look for another stock agency in the meanwhile. There are some news around EyeEm that they might get bought by a large stock agency, but this can still take time.

  8. I have deleted all my photos from Eyeem. My concern was those photos on Getty etc but good to hear these have been deleted as well. Eyeem (Talenthouse) have been ripping off stock photographers for a while. Majority of my recent sales I was only getting 1 cent each time, good news was if I sold something like 300,000 photos at 1 cent each I went up a level with Eyeem!! I’ve moved to other stock photo sites now

Leave a reply

Stock Photo Secrets