Genies brings lifelike avatars to other apps with $10M from celebrities

Genies is becoming the main competitor of Bitmoji, the very popular Snapchat, since Facebook, Apple and Google have been slow to take personalized avatars seriously. More than a million people have customized dozens of features to create a realistic digital appearance of themselves from more than a million possible permutations.

When Genies was launched a year ago after raising $ 15 million in stealth, it was wrong to try to show the geniuses of people performing a few weekly news and seasonal moments. Now the startup has discovered that users want more control, so it is changing their iOS and Android applications to allow them to chat through their avatar, which represents keywords and feelings in response to what they write, which they can then share in another place. And Genies is launching a software development kit that loads other applications so you can create avatars and use them to chat, stickers, games, animations and augmented reality.

The Genies SDK places its avatars in other applications

The new strategies and introduces what CEO Akash Nigam calls "the next wave of communication through avatars where people feel comfortable expressing themselves", Genies has raised $ 10 million more. The round of the party comes from a wide range of investors, from institutional firms such as NEA and Tull Co. to angels such as Sean Rad de Tinder, Jared Morgenstern de Raya and speaker Tony Robbins; athletes such as Carmelo Anthony, Kyrie Irving and Richard Sherman; and musicians, including A $ AP Rocky, Migos Offset, The Chainsmokers and 50 Cent. "Some, like Offset, have even used their Genie to represent them in brand sponsorships, so their avatar poses for pictures instead of them.

" We have gone from being an application to a company avatars services, "Nigam tells me, the son of WebMD co-founder Nigam built a series of failed applications while at the University of Michigan and worked with Genies co-founders Evan Rosenbaum and Matt Geiger at a startup. called Blend that raised some money, seeing Bitmoji, owned by Snapchat, remain stuck on the top of the application's download graphics, inspired them to see more opportunities in the avatar space, however, the geniuses have had some Talent issues: Nigam says he fired co-founder and president Matt Geiger, and a source tells me there were business culture issues that led to problems with the content writers he hired to create even-numbered scenes to the Genies acting. Now he's coming out of that scripted content creation business to focus on algorithmic suggestions of animations.

Genies app chat

The renewed Genies app allows you to chat with up to six friends through your avatar. As he writes, Genies detects actions, places, things and emotions, and offers him the corresponding animations that his avatar represents with a touch. Since people already have a large place to converse, it can be difficult to get people to make real conversations within Genies by more than a quick hit of novelty. But that functionality will also reach the keyboards of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and iMessage, where expressive animations could increase your threads naturally.

Gucci paid for Genies users to add their luxury clothes to their avatars

With the Genies SDK, the Start is ready to challenge the new Snapchat Snap Kit that allows applications to incorporate Bitmoji on their keyboards . But for $ 100,000 to $ 1 million in license fees, Genies allows applications to develop much deeper avatar functions. Beyond creating stickers for the keyboard, games can stick the face of your Genies on the head of your character, and utility applications can make your Genie act on the weather or celebrate transactions. And since the Genies are still taking off, partners can create experiences that feel fresh instead of simply reusing the already established Bitmoji cartoon avatars. Users spent an average of 19 minutes creating their Genie, so the SDK could add a significant commitment to these applications. Genies also launched its first official brand agreement, where Gucci created a wheel in the creator of Genies so that he can dress his mini-you with luxury clothes.

Avatar Wars (from the left): Facebook Avatars, Google Gboard Mini Stickers, Apple Memoji

Despite Bitmoji's years of success, he has not yet had a scaled competitor. TechCrunch broke the news that Facebook is working on a "Facebook Avatars" feature, but seven months later it is still not being publicly tested and the prototype seems childish. Google's Gboard has just added the ability to create avatars based on a selfie, but they are bland, not very detailed and far from fun. And Apple's latest mobile operating system allows you to create a Memoji, although they also look generic like real emoji instead of something that identifies instantly like you. By designing avatars that not only look like you, but a cooler version of you, the Genies could capture the hearts and faces of millions of teenagers and the influencers that follow.