John Attanasio, CEO of Toonstar, mentioned his aim is to create “a new Cartoon Network.”
Attanasio and his co-founder Luisa Huang had been executives at Warner Brothers, in order that they each labored underneath the identical company umbrella because the Cartoon Network. Attanasio mentioned the important thing to Toonstar’s method is to create animated content material that’s “mobile, snackable, interactive.”
Specifically, the startup’s iOS app permits customers to customise cartoon characters after which animate them utilizing their very own facial expressions. The ensuing cartoons may be dwell streamed (each on Toonstar itself and different companies like Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Musical.ly) and viewers can work together by including their very own animations, corresponding to dropping an anvil into the scene.
This could remind you of animojis, the emojis animated by facial recognition expertise that Apple introduced final month. However, Attanasio mentioned the 2 companies are attempting to do various things — animojis are communication instruments, whereas Toonstar is all about leisure. (Plus, you don’t want to attend for an iPhone X to make use of Toonstar’s app.)
He additionally argued that the facial recognition expertise wanted to do this type of factor has existed for some time now. What’s new, he mentioned, is “this idea of a selfie culture,” which Toonstar extends by permitting customers to rework themselves into different characters, and even whole casts of characters.
The Toonstar app is popping out of beta testing right this moment. The firm says that in its three months in beta, the app attracted 20,000 customers, and the cartoons created had been considered 50 million instances.
The firm has additionally partnered with Skybound Entertainment, the corporate behind The Walking Dead, on an initiative to show a number of Skybound comics into Toonstar exhibits.
“We’re excited to partner with Toonstar because we believe cartoon livestreaming has many unique advantages from both a consumer and production perspective,” mentioned Skybound North CEO Catherine Winder within the announcement. “Realtime interaction allows fans to connect directly with their favorite characters in a ground-breaking way.”
Eventually, Attanasio hopes that Toonstar isn’t just one other channel for animated content material, however a supply of latest mental property: “Maybe the next Rick and Morty comes from Toonstar, maybe the next Bojack Horseman comes from Toonstar.”
The startup has raised a seed spherical of undisclosed measurement led by Science Inc., with participation from Jon Goldman’s GC VR Gaming Tracker Fund, Manta Ray and Social Starts.