1. May 2012–
Today the Berlin-based company Loopc.am revealed details of its seed financing round. Joining London-based Passion Capital in support of the GIF-sharing platform is a syndicate of premier angel investors including lead angel Zoe Adamovicz (Xyologic, Concise Software), Alexander Ljung (Soundcloud), Heilemann Ventures (Dailydeal), Christophe Maire (Txtr), Felix Petersen (Amen), Peter Read and Eric Wahlforss (Soundcloud).
The six-digit fund will go toward growing the team (currently four people, including founder Tor Rauden) and accelerating product development, including expanding the Loopc.am app client to support other platforms. It will also usher in further social aspects, whereby users will be allowed to follow their friends, and share to further networks.
How does Loopc.am work?
Loopc.am captures a series of frames (up to 50) through an iPhone or iPad camera stopmotion style, which is seamlessly and quickly merged into an animation to share. The iOS app already has a strong fan base all over the world, with most aggressive growth seen in the US, Sweden, UK and Germany. Last weekend, musical producer Jermaine Dupri declared his love to fast food through a loop. Bloggers and digital media producers are also making creative use of the platform; for visual stories that require duration, the option is much more iPhone friendly than a video.
Is Loopc.am aiming to beome an Instagram for loops?
"Since our launch we've stayed light-weight on features," Tor Rauden told VentureVillage in an interview this afternoon. "Now we're looking at extending the social element of the app, preparing to allow sharing and following among a smaller group of friends."
With other platforms like Viddy (an Instagram for 15-second videos trialed by Mark Zuckerberg yesterday) and Cinemagram (which amassed 1 million users in its first six weeks) gaining traction, Loopcam will face increasing competition in the app store as it begins to define its community and purpose.
Who's using it now? Artists, journalists, and anyone who's inspired...
The day I first downloaded Loopcam on my phone, I ended up taking over 200 loops, a selection of which I made into a short film with founder Tor Rauden's musical accompaniment using Final Cut. Since then, it's become a regular part of my life, replacing what I guess is 80% of my iPhone camera use. Internal processes for longer-form "Loop creations" would be great; something like "loop my day" or "loop my weekend" feature that will bring them all together without requiring movie-editing software.
While there's not yet a way to share Loops directly to WordPress or other blogging platforms aside from Tumblr, a new Polaroid-like embeddable widget makes the process a lot nicer (otherwise in Facebook, friends need to link out to see them). Other blogger-friendly features are also in the works, like the ability to back-out if a loop is taking too long to load, or to save text without having to share first... Every Loopc.am iteration is anticipated.
How much longer is it going to be until our FB timelines are loops?
Since its launched, loops have appeared on a friend's Facebook feed as a link that you need a new tab to open. "As of now, I haven't gotten any indications that Facebook is going to support GIFS," Rauden tells us. "As of today, though, we found a way to share loops without needing their support. We're experimenting with a way to include them. I think they haven't realized the GIF phenomenom yet."
The new widget will prove a temporary solution. "Even Tumblr and Twitter have some limitations in terms of size," Rauden tells us, "Maybe Facebook's reluctance is just about that. Tumblr recently reached its limit. It used to turn anything bigger than 1/2 a MB into a Jpeg. Recently they've bumped it up to a MB. That was them acknowledging the creative significance of the GIF format, which actually's been around for 2-3 years now."
Congratulations to the team, joining EyeEm and Readmill as Passion Capital's Berlin-based investments!