Lollicam is an actual-time cellular video device for including cinematic results to selfies
When will teenagers get uninterested in taking selfies? In all probability by no means given the myriad methods they will increase what nature gave them thanks the facility of the smartphone of their pocket.
To wit: since final fall, after teen-beloved multimedia-targeted social sharing platform Snapchat acquired a cellular video startup referred to as Looksery, the startup darling has been making hay with a face-detection powered lens function that lets customers recompile their options in new configurations, resembling faceswapped with a pal, or morphed right into a zombie, or vomiting a rainbow, and so forth.
Extra just lately, as solely reported by TechCrunch final week, Snapchat snapped up 3D photograph app Seene — positioning itself to additional flesh out its face-morphing lenses with help for 3D selfies. 3D rainbow vomit? Put together thyselves individuals; it’s coming.
And Snapchat is not alone on this facial faddishness both. In March Fb purchased picture filtering app Masquerade, with the intention of integrating the latter’s face-morphing tech into its messaging platform to inject just a little extra enjoyable into the web area the place youngsters’ mother and father choose to hang around.
Backside line: Maintaining youthful customers engaged and communications flowing is precedence primary for social platform giants. Which suggests arising with a pipeline of latest options to gasoline continued use. And that means startups with cool cellular video-augmenting instruments are prime targets for acquisition.
Which brings me to YC-backed Seerslab, the maker of the cellular video modifying app Lollicam. An exit to a bigger entity comparable to a messaging big is a definite hope for Seerslab, given the clear want for novelty amongst platform giants to maintain their providers sticky, coupled with the converse problem of being a small startup making an attempt to defend cool concepts from being copied by hungry platform giants… Should you can’t out-useful resource them, you’ll be able to no less than exit to them, proper?
“It isn’t that straightforward to guard our concepts and know-how as a result of we’re small,” admits Seerslab co-founder and CEO Michael Chong, when requested concerning the app’s defensibility. “When it comes to the picture processing world, there’s a variety of exhausting work and actual work to optimize or so as to add some particular function. And as a small startup who has the shortage of useful resource we couldn’t put [so many] engineers to work on our picture processing know-how.
“So we’re simply going quicker when it comes to our concept. That’s what we will do. It’s actually robust to guard a brand new idea and new know-how on this area… That’s our aggressive power… In fact, when it comes to a company technique, we hope to be acquired by the large man who has lots of consumer base.
“However as a small startup solely factor you might do is provoke a brand new idea on this video creation space after which validate some enterprise mannequin with present model and content material holder.”
Final summer time Seerslab launched its actual-time cellular video-modifying software for augmenting selfies. Since then the Android and iOS Lollicam apps have racked up greater than 4 million downloads, principally in Korea and Japan thus far. Lively customers are across the two million mark at this level, says Chong. It’s apparently particularly fashionable with teenage women.
Progress has been natural, with no advertising spend as but. Though Fb took a shine to Lollicam just lately — touting the app as one in every of its companions for a video profile function at its F8 convention again in April.
Lollicam’s options embrace face-monitoring stickers, reminiscent of the large cat masks pictured on the prime of this submit; cinematic results; and actual-time filters akin to a beautification lens that airbrushes pores and skin in actual-time or modifications your face form to make it much less of a chore to snap the right selfie/movie a selfie video message you’re prepared to ship.
The app additionally lets customers increase their selfie/s movies with a variety of further results that may be added by way of a comparatively easy faucet to incorporate interface — comparable to a blizzard of feathers or a rain storm or some animated characters.
(In the event you assume all this sounds bizarre, previous to Lollicam the staff’s first concept was to create a courting app utilizing their facial recognition engine to attempt to match ssingles who look comparable — based mostly on the idea that we’re interested in individuals who appear to be us… “Accuracy charges for facial recognition within the cellular setting” scuppered that plan, nevertheless. Which was in all probability for one of the best.)
There’s no modifying after the very fact with Lollicam. It’s all achieved earlier than you snap a selfie or in the midst of recording a video, with results utilized in actual-time as you choose and tweak them. The processing can also be completed on the telephone, not within the cloud. So use Lollicam for some time and don’t be stunned to seek out your telephone feeling slightly scorching. The co-founders’ backgrounds embrace 10 years working in cellular video and digital camera providers, in response to Chong.
One massive push for Seerslab in the intervening time is working with content material companions like Disney and Warner Bros to allow customers to incorporate animated film characters of their selfie movies — mixing right into a kind of consumer-generated advertising area.
This might additionally see it push in the direction of a income share mannequin for customers in future, says Chong — assuming it manages to scale up its consumer base to command a large platform of its personal.
“Snapchat are following us!” he jokes with amusing. “We’ve launched branded sticker earlier than Snapchat’s sponsored lenses. We have now labored with some manufacturers with the characters from films earlier than Snapchat. We have now already discovered this type of viral software could be very robust for selling manufacturers.”
Albeit Snapchat in fact has the large benefit of already having a large and rising userbase; this month pegged at one hundred fifty million day by day lively customers… David and Goliath certainly.
Speaking of cool new options, the Seerslab workforce just isn’t standing nonetheless, with Chong speaking about one other fascinating concept it has up its sleeve for Lollicam which he’s not prepared to speak publicly about but. However let’s simply say they’re trying to increase how they will increase cellular movies past the core facial-monitoring tech.
Chong says they’re additionally within the potential provided by streaming video, and may add a livevideo function to the app to increase how individuals could make use of the VFX. Which means they might be not only for creating selfies/selfie video to share to their different social platforms, however for streaming broadcasts too.
Turning into a professional device for YouTubers to reinforce broadcasts in actual-time is an alternative choice for the tech, reckons Chong.
The staff can also be investigating working with digital camera makers.
“Lollicam will evolve to be not just for selfies however to incorporate some creation setting by energy customers,” he tells TechCrunch. “We’re speaking with [a maker of a 360 degree camera] that’s considering of utilizing our Lollicam app as a controller for his or her stationary digital camera. So what is going to occur in future is a few energy consumer, YouTube star, might simply put some Lollicam cinematic results on their video. In actual-time.”
Music stickers are additionally within the Lollicam arsenal, so as to add one other layer to selfie movies.
Chong says it’s speaking with a Okay-pop music star administration agency about including content material from the artists they characterize — including that that could possibly be a future path to charging customers for branded music stickers, ought to the workforce find yourself needing to flick the monetization change.
“YouTube is dropping the facility of a viral platform to advertise the music as a result of merely they’re too massive presently,” Chong argues, describing how Lollicam customers may have the ability to add music and animated content material from their favourite Okay-pop band to their selfies in future if the talks go to plan.
Previous to getting onto YC’s program, Seerslab raised $1 million in pre-seed funding, together with funding from a number of Korean angels plus some authorities grant cash. It’s since taken one other $1 million, together with YC’s backing. And is hoping to shut a seed spherical by the top of this yr.
The intention now’s to focus spending on advertising and product, in response to Chong — hoping, finally, to show out the mantra that when you construct it the customers will come.
Or perhaps should you beautify and amuse them sufficient, the customers will maintain coming again.
Adopted, maybe, by an Asian messaging big acquirer — like, for instance, Kakao Speak — eager to reinforce its app expertise with but one other enjoyable device.
“Many individuals try to construct one thing like YouTube within the cellular. Nevertheless it’s not straightforward,” provides Chong. “There’s nonetheless one thing painful for basic individuals to edit the video on such a small display, so ache means alternative — so we determined to attempt to faucet such a chance.”