John Attanasio, CEO of Toonstar, mentioned his purpose is to create “a new Cartoon Network.”
Attanasio and his co-founder Luisa Huang had been each executives at Warner Brothers, in order that they each labored underneath the similar company umbrella because the Cartoon Network. Attanasio mentioned the important thing to Toonstar’s way is to create animated content material that’s “mobile, snackable, interactive.”
Specifically, the startup’s iOS app lets in customers to customise cartoon characters after which animate them the use of their very own facial expressions. The ensuing cartoons will also be livestreamed (each on Toonstar itself and different products and services like Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Musical.ly) and audience can have interaction by way of including their very own animations, equivalent to shedding an anvil into the scene.
This might remind you of animojis, the emojis animated by way of facial recognition generation that Apple introduced ultimate month. However, Attanasio mentioned the 2 products and services try to do various things — animojis are communique equipment, whilst Toonstar is all about leisure. (Plus, you don’t want to watch for an iPhone X to use Toonstar’s app.)
He additionally argued that the facial recognition generation wanted to do this sort of factor has existed for some time now. What’s new, he mentioned, is “this idea of a selfie culture,” which Toonstar extends by way of permitting customers to turn into themselves into different characters, or even whole casts of characters.
The Toonstar app is popping out of beta trying out lately. The corporate says that throughout its 3 months in beta, the app attracted 20,000 customers, and the cartoons created had been considered 50 million instances.
The corporate has additionally partnered with Skybound Entertainment, the corporate in the back of The Walking Dead, on an initiative to flip a number of Skybound comics into Toonstar displays.
“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 no longer simply any other channel for animated content material, however a supply of recent highbrow assets: “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 dimension led by way of Science Inc., with participation from Jon Goldman’s GC VR Gaming Tracker Fund, Manta Ray and Social Starts.