GIFs Not Enough? Snippet’s Mobile App Lets Friends Share Song Clips

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

When emojis and animated GIFs don’t adequately capture your mood, maybe sharing that catchy chorus from “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran will do the trick.

That’s part of the idea behind Snippet, a new startup in Wisconsin that has created software allowing people with iPhones and other iOS devices to send each other clips of popular songs. Users can search for a particular song, browse menus of trending clips, receive suggestions based on previous selections, or even search for songs that fit a particular mood or emotion. After a user receives a snippet, he or she taps on it to listen, and then the song title and artist appear on-screen when the clip is finished playing.

The brevity of the format makes it ideal for friends who like sharing new music or inside jokes with one another, the company says.

“I’ve used it with some friends in the past,” says Zach Vander Velden, the startup’s co-founder and CEO. “Everybody just seems to love it. They’re laughing the whole time.”

Shareable music clips, emojis, and short looping videos known as GIFs might sound like frivolous features to some. But as mobile devices and social media have become crucial means of communication, entrepreneurs and investors see opportunities to build big businesses around these technologies. Inmoji, for example, has reportedly raised at least $9 million in venture capital for its “branded interactive emojis” that connect consumers and businesses in messaging apps. Giphy, which enables users to search for and share GIFs, has raised $150 million at a $600 million valuation, according to a May report by Business Insider.

Snippet, whose original name was SoundGIFs, has a long way to go. But it recently got a boost from a $360,000 round of equity financing, Vander Velden says. Six investors participated in the round, according to a regulatory filing. Vander Velden declined to reveal the names of the backers.

Vander Velden launched Snippet this year with Charles Hu, who serves as the company’s chief technology officer. Both are software developers who earned degrees in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their startup is technically based in the northeastern Wisconsin town of Sturgeon Bay, but the team mostly works from Madison.

Vander Velden says Snippet will use some of the funding to add more part-time employees as the company gets set to launch its iOS app in the next couple of months.

Technically, Snippet will be initially available both as a standalone iOS app, as well as an extension of iMessage, the core messaging app on iPhones. iMessage extensions allow users to send different types of content—animated GIFs, for example—as text messages. Snippet’s iOS app and iMessage extension will launch simultaneously, Vander Velden says.

The financing “allows us to work full time on [the startup] and hire people to help make it happen, and to buy more songs and have a space to work,” he says.

Snippet has already paid to license more than 7,000 snippets of songs. The company’s goal is … Next Page »

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