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, so that they each labored underneath the similar company umbrella because the Cartoon Network. Attanasio mentioned the important thing to Toonstar’s means 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 the use of their very own facial expressions. The ensuing cartoons will also be livestreamed (each on Toonstar itself and different services and products like Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Musical.ly) and audience can engage through including their very own animations, similar to shedding an anvil into the scene.
This might remind you of animojis, the emojis animated through facial recognition era that Apple introduced final month. However, Attanasio mentioned the 2 services and products are attempting to do various things — animojis are communique gear, whilst Toonstar is all about leisure. (Plus, you don’t want to stay up for an iPhone X to use Toonstar’s app.)
He additionally argued that the facial recognition era 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 through 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 as of late. The corporate says that all over its 3 months in beta, the app attracted 20,000 customers, and the cartoons created had been considered 50 million occasions.
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 some other channel for animated content material, however a supply of latest 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 through Science Inc., with participation from Jon Goldman’s GC VR Gaming Tracker Fund, Manta Ray and Social Starts.