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Originally published Friday, September 9, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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$8 million is raised for images startup

Before launching his own stock-images company two years ago, David Norris moved to Seattle from Texas to be among like-minded people. Because Seattle is home...

Seattle Times technology reporter

Before launching his own stock-images company two years ago, David Norris moved to Seattle from Texas to be among like-minded people.Because Seattle is home to Getty Images and Corbis, two of the largest stock-images companies in the country, he thought it was a perfect fit. What he also found were investors with expertise in his line of work.

Today, Norris' OnRequest Images is announcing that it has raised $8 million in venture capital to boost its sales and marketing. The 45-employee company has raised $12 million to date.

The investors include Seattle-based Frazier Technology Ventures and Maveron, also based in Seattle and founded by Starbucks' Howard Schultz. Frazier is also announcing today that it has hired former RealNetworks executive Paul Bialek to be its fourth general partner.

OnRequest uses the Internet to help match photographers with companies looking for specialized photographs. The difference between OnRequest and Getty or Corbis is that its network of photographers tailors a shoot to a particular company versus having a company sift through a library of images to use.

Norris said that because venture capital is more competitive today — with more dollars available for investment than in the recent past — entrepreneurs have been able to be more particular about whom they want to work with.

"I think it is more competitive than it has been in many years," said Norris, who has founded two other companies. "Frazier was the right group for us."

Norris said he was drawn to Frazier as a new investor for OnRequest's second round of funding because of Gary Gigot, a general partner at the firm. Gigot's background includes stints at an advertising agency, as well as working on branding at Microsoft — two perfect fits for OnRequest.

"We did explore other different financial scenarios, but opted with Frazier after reviewing it all," Norris said.

Partly because of this competition for financing companies, which has picked up only recently, Frazier has hired Bialek, who was chief financial officer at RealNetworks from 1998 to 2001. Bialek has also held various executive roles at startup companies in Seattle.

Len Jordan, a general partner at Frazier whose background also includes RealNetworks, said Bialek was chosen for his financial and operational skills.

"Already there have been two opportunities that I gave to Paul because they are a better fit for him than me," he said.

That's even before Bialek officially starts Monday.

Tricia Duryee: 206-464-3283 or

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