Toronto-based Flixel Photos announced today the close of a $2.2 million seed round, led by Extreme Venture Partners, with participation from Cranson Capital and angel investors in Australia and Canada.
The funding announcement comes two years after the company’s pivot from a video-centric mobile social network to a toolset provider for photographers, videographers, and brand marketers.
“We had a thesis that said, ‘Instagram’s doing very well, there’s room for a social network for this new medium called cinemagraphs’. But what we saw from the consumer behaviour was that cinemagraphs is not something you will continuously do to document your life,” said Flixel CEO and co-founder, Philippe LeBlanc, in an interview with BetaKit. “What we saw was that artists were using it to create art, and for marketing purposes, there was an opportunity for brands to create high-engaging content.”
Flixel found real traction a year after the relaunch of its mobile app when it released a desktop version for Mac. Cinemagraph Pro for Mac launched to the number one spot in the Mac app store and won the company the 2014 Apple Design and Best of 2014 awards. More importantly, Flixel was reporting sales of over $250,000 in its first quarter after the switch.
Recently, Flixel has been partnering with brands to create custom cinemgraphs, for major events like the Emmy Awards. The company has also worked with Facebook, Instagram, America’s Next Top Model, and A&E. LeBlanc said that the switch from a B2C social network to B2B software provider was driven entirely by its customer base.
“At the end of the day, you have to listen to your potential customers and the customers that are using it, and who’s getting value from it,” he said. “From there, we really saw that our ideal customer is a Creative Cloud customer.”
That focus on embedding with and delivering for customers is why Flixel is a silver sponsor of the Adobe MAX conference, which starts today, and where 80% of the company’s customer base will be (LeBlanc says that there are currently 4 million paying Creative Cloud subscribers, so the market opportunity is significant).
“We’re going to be doing live cinemagraphs of all the attendees, we’re going to be showing off our tools, so it’s a really big opportunity for us to cement our position in the marketplace as the place for cinemagraphs.”