Cinegif, an Austin-based startup specializing in animated graphic technology, has just received $500,000 in angel funding.
The investors included the Baylor Angel Network and the Houston Angel Network and its Halo Fund.
Cinegif plans to use the funding on sales and marketing for its cloud-based Graphics Interchange Format, known as GIF, marketing platform. The company sells primarily to marketers, advertisers and agencies.
Graham McFarland founded the company and serves as its CEO. He previously founded ExpressDigital and PhotoReflect. Here’s a post SHN did on the company last year.
Since then the company has created a Do It Yourself Platform that allows anyone to create GIFs easily. Cinegif recently partnered with Pulsepoint to market the service and T3Media to create a GIF stock image library. Cinegif’s partners also include HP, which featured Cinegif’s technology at tradeshow and festival booths this fall.
“Today’s average online attention span is only 10 seconds, and getting noticed is becoming increasingly important,” McFarland said in a news release. “Animated GIFs add motion to messages and are as engaging as a video but as simple to use as a still image, making them the perfect medium for digital marketing.”
The GIF, Graphics Interchange Format, is 25 years old.
And it’s gotten a makeover.
The annoying images of flashing e-mail boxes and under construction signs from the early days of the Internet still exist. But few people use them.
Instead, companies looking to get the attention of a highly distracted Internet audience have turned to the video GIF.
And Cinegif in Austin wants to create special GIFs for them.
“Animated GIFs are making a comeback,” said Graham McFarland, Cinegif’s CEO.
Some people say the GIF killed Myspace.com because everyone junked up their profiles by placing numerous animated files on them, McFarland said. But GIFs are one of the most popular postings to Tumblr, the popular blogging platform, he said.
“GIFs are making a comeback because they can be easily put together to look like a video file.”
Cinegif is bringing this trend to businesses, McFarland said.
Companies can put the video GIFs into e-mail campaigns and social media campaigns, McFarland said.
“Anywhere you can use an image file you can use an animated GIF,” he said. Right now the biggest creators of animated GIFs are teenagers and high-end fashion photographers in New York and Los Angeles, McFarland said.
Earlier this month, Burberry’s tweeted animated GIFs from its London Fashion week show.
Cinegif is doing a handful of pilot projects with small businesses locally and nationally to bring the technology to a wider business market, McFarland said.
The startup company recently launched its Cinegif App for the iPhone that lets consumers share 10 second video clips within a text message.
Cinegif has created a video conversion software that reduces file size and makes sharing short videos easy. The company has three patents on its technology and one more pending, McFarland said. With the Cinegif video app, which is free, anyone can send a 10 second video GIF in a text message. The size of the file is compatible for mobile delivery with any telecommunications carrier, according to the company.
Doug Richardson, a professional photographer, came up with the idea and formed the company in 2006, but he’s only recently begun to commercialize it. The company has some angel funding and plans to seek additional funding later on this year. Cinegif currently has three employees and two contract employees.
Cinegif plans to host a 20 second film festival in Austin later this year to raise the awareness of what GIFs are and how they can be used, McFarland said.
“The goal is to get the technology out and into the hands of creative people,” McFarland said.