A startup getting popular from a tool that helps people create avatars of themselves for social sharing? We’ve been here before: Canadian startup Bitstrips had an app hit with its Bitmoji avatars in 2015, and was acquired by Snapchat’s parent company Snap in March 2016 for $64.2m. Bitmoji are now a core part of Snapchat itself. Now history may be repeating itself with a startup called Genies, which also has an app (subtitle: ‘Clone Yourself’) that promises “3D motion picture quality and advanced artificial intelligence to create digital clones to look and act just like you”.
Having already raised $15m of funding a year ago, now Genies has another $10m coming in, with musicians including A$AP Rocky, The Chainsmokers, 50 Cent and Migos’ Offset among the investors. “Some like Offset have even used their Genie to stand in for them for brand sponsorships, so their avatar poses for photos instead of them,” reports TechCrunch.
More than a million people have so far used Genies, apparently: while you might think it’ll need many more users to become a Bitstrips-style acquisition target, if the tech is clever (and un-copyable) enough, Genies could interest companies from Facebook and Instagram to Apple.