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Short-Form Content Pioneer Gfycat Announces Third-Party API and $10M Seed Round

Gfycat, the world’s largest platform for user-generated short-form video, today announced $10 million in seed series financing, as well as the release of the Gfycat API to all third party developers. The round was led by Alsop Louie Partners (lead investors in Twitch.tv and Niantic), with additional capital from Pear Ventures, You and Mr. Jones, Jeong Kim, Stanford StartX Fund, and several other investors and angels. The financing round allows Gfycat to continue to support user-created short-form content to over 75 million viewers monthly, while the open API will answer the demands of developers seeking to use the platform for new, innovative applications.

Avid video creators Dan McEleney, Jeff Harris and Richard Rabbat (formerly of Tango, Zynga and Google), saw a radical shift in consumer behavior in early 2013 as the rise of mobile communication led to a proliferation of short communication forms, from text messages to tweets and emojis. They incorporated Gfycat in 2015 to usher in a new era of short-form content, pushing the boundaries of visual quality and user interaction.

By skillfully employing video technology to deliver the short, silent, looping experience, Gfycat addresses the major deficiencies that plagued the original .gif format: its large size, which caused prohibitively slow load times, and its limited color palette. While still a garage project, Gfycat transformed the industry, and has since organically built the largest global community of producers. To date Gfycat has hosted 2.5 million unique content creators, who have created 25 million GFYCATs. These users range from avid gamers sharing their achievements to visual artists creating animated works. GFYCATs now reach over 75 million monthly active users, who view more than 1.5 billion GFYCATs a month.

“The rapid growth of Gfycat’s creator community is a testament to the power of our creation tools,” said CEO Rabbat. “Our users appreciate the speed and simplicity of our platform and we’ve drawn inspiration from our passionate user base to continue improving on the format.”

Rabbat’s vision for Gfycat extends far beyond GIFs. “GFYCATs are a vehicle to deliver all kinds of short-form content seamlessly,” Rabbat added. “Today we primarily deal in short, silent video, and our roadmap extends well beyond that into all forms of short content. We’re proudest of creating a flexible and growing platform that enables efficient hosting and sharing.”

This platform-centric thinking has motivated Gfycat to make its API available to all third-party developers. Starting today, the API allows developers to upload videos and GIFs from any site or app directly to Gfycat and benefit from the scale of the platform and infinite hosting. The API also gives publishers and consumer apps access for the first time to Gfycat’s more than 25 million pieces of user-generated content, available to embed in a wide variety of consumer experiences, such as keyboard apps and GIF and video making apps.

“We see the release of our API as the first step to making our platform dominant in the short-form space,” said Rabbat. The self-serve API is now available at https://developers.gfycat.com.

“Gfycat has demonstrated tremendous reach to both content creators and the worldwide public. We're starting to see traditional media, brands, and celebrities incorporate Gfycat content into their daily online activities, to great effect,” said board director Ernestine Fu, a partner at Alsop Louie. “GFYCATs have only recently become mainstream, but I believe they have the potential to enhance all types of human communication and expression.”

Added Rabbat: “For some time now consumers have been gravitating towards short-form, frictionless content. We are very excited to put the power of the Gfycat platform in the hands of developers through our API and are excited to see what will be created. Gfycat is unique in its ability to marry easy consumption with simple creation in the short-form video space, and the new API allows for limitless creative applications of our technology.”

Gfycat, with offices in Mountain View, Calif. and Edmonton, Canada, is currently ranked within the top 75 sites in the US and top 200 internationally.

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