Who Is Behind Wirestock.io? Founders, Funding and Places

Posted on 12/21/2020 by Robert Kneschke | Printable Version | Comments (2)

After my article a few days ago about Wirestock's questionable deal with Freepik, I got some comments and pointers that I want to summarize here.

Who exactly is behind the wirestock.io website?

The information on this is scarce and contradictory. On the wirestock.io website itself, neither the address nor the names of those responsible are given.

Only the company name "Wirestock Inc." can be found in the copyright notice at the end of each page and the company name "Wirestock LLC" in the data protection regulations. Since there seem to be differences between an Inc. and an LLC and a company cannot be both at the same time, either two companies were founded here, or the owners do not care about the differences.

It gets more exciting in the "Terms Of Use". There is for example under "Wirestock Trademarks":

"All rights in and to Wirestock’s trademarks not expressly granted to you hereunder are reserved by Shutterstock"

Shutterstock is also mentioned in at least six other places. This can have several reasons. The most obvious reason: The lazy owners simply used the Shutterstock contract text when creating the website and forgot to exchange the agency name everywhere.

Some Shutterstock mentions in the "Terms Of Use" by Wirestock.io (emphasis added)
IChart 1
A second - more unlikely - possibility would be that Shutterstock has recognized that hardly anyone uploads exclusively to them anyway and that they want to earn 15% of the sales at other photo agencies in this way.

Where is Wirestock.io located?

Again, there is conflicting information. According to a who-is query, the website was registered in Dubai in November 2018.

chart 2

According to the website tracxn.com, the company has existed since 2017 and is based in Kalkara, Malta.

According to Linkedin, Wirestock.io can be reached at an address in Newark, Delaware, USA. At the given address, however, Google will only find it at another company with exclusively Armenian employees. It is therefore reasonable to assume that this is a kind of mailbox in order to be able to take advantage of the tax policy in Delaware that is favorable for companies.

According to this website, Wirestock co-founder and CEO Mikhayel Khachatryan works from an office in Malta, also known as a tax haven.

Who is behind Wirestock.io?

According to LinkedIn and some interviews, the company was founded by several people. At Linkedin, Mikayel Khachatryan (CEO), Vladimir Khoetsyan (CTO) and Seb Kiureghian, all three from Armenia, as well as Ashot Mnatsakanyan from the United Arab Emirates (the website registration in Dubai fits in with this) are named as co-founders.

How is Wirestock.io financed?

According to Tracxn.com, Wirestock received a seed financing round of approximately USD 40,000 on July 4, 2018, including from a venture capital firm. According to this source, there should have been another financing round at the end of 2019, including by HIVE Ventures, for $ 25,000 according to that report.

The risk of photographers at Wirestock

As shown above, with Wirestock we have a company that presumably stole its terms and conditions from Shutterstock and is active in several tax havens worldwide. The four founders of Wirestock all come from the finance and technology sector and have not had a company investment for more than a few years.

The assumption is therefore that a hip Internet start-up is to be built here, which is to be sold at a profit in a few years. It fits well into this strategy that Wirestock is not interested in a long-term development of the picture market, but gives away pictures for one-off payments in order to beautify the balance sheets in the short term in order to look more attractive to potential buyers.

In addition, photographers who upload their images to Wirestock cannot see which agency has accepted which images from them. The photographers act in a black box in which they have to trust that the owners act in their interests.

However, anyone who steals their general terms and conditions from other photo agencies when they are founded and does not want to mention any company information on their own website, I would not trust them an inch.

Update December 18, 2020: Shortly after the founding of Wirestock, the company actually wanted to use the blockchain and smart contracts to revolutionize the image market, but nothing is left of that.

Edit 12/18/2020: In the first version it was mentioned that photographers had no access to the keywords, that's not true, so that part was removed.

Copyright © 2020 Robert Kneschke. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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