Dubsmash has become a regular presence in many people’s Facebook feeds, as their friends and family joyfully (and, let’s be honest, often not entirely soberly) lip-sync along to music and film clips.
The app has now been downloaded 75m times, with celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Hugh Jackman and Cara Delevingne adopting it with gusto. Now Silicon Valley is joining the fun, with a $5.5m Series A funding round led by Index Ventures.
The funding comes 10 months after Dubsmash launched in November 2014 as a relaunched version of Starlize, an app for fans to make mini lip-dub music videos.
Although it won a MidemLab prize at 2014’s Midem conference, the app never caught on, but once reimagined as Dubsmash it became a viral hit. And, indeed, a nascent music marketing platform, with Rihanna debuting her ‘BBHMM’ single as Dubsmash clips earlier this year.
Dubsmash says it will use the funding – which besides Index came from Lowercase Capital, ENIAC Ventures, Sunstone Capital, Raine Ventures and the CEO of Candy Crush Saga publisher King – to expand its team and scale its infrastructure.
“People today are increasingly using video to add a new layer of communication to their mobile conversations, and we’re eager to help enrich this relationship by building out a new type of platform to enable this,” said co-founder Roland Grenke.
“With this new round of funding, we are welcoming to our team a great mix of both US and European investors with decades of technology, mobile and entertainment expertise, who will help us grow our business.”
What is that business, though? Dubsmash’s challenge now is not just to keep its momentum going, but to figure out how to make money from it. Grenke told TechCrunch that while he sees “multiple opportunities” for monetisation “it’s too early to focus on them right now. Instead we’re 100% focused on the user as we work on user engagement and retention”.
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