Barbie selfie startup’s $500M valuation exposes the power of memes

AI + Barbie = big bucks for Photoroom

A French startup acclaimed for a Barbie selfie generator has raised $43mn round at a $500mn valuation in a showcase for meme magic.

Paris-based Photoroom raised the eye-popping sums in a Series B round led by Balderton Capital and French VC Aglaé Ventures. Y-Combinator also contributed to the cash injection, which brings Photoroom’s total funding to a cool $64mn.

The startup claims to have developed the world’s most popular AI photo editor. Since launching in 2019, the app has been downloaded over 150 million times, according to Photoroom.

Unlike most AI startups, the company has trained its own models from scratch. It also just unveiled a new foundation model built for product photography.

Impressive stuff, no doubt, but the meme magic emerged from a different source: the Barbie selfie maker.