John Attanasio, CEO of Toonstar, mentioned his purpose is to create “a new Cartoon Network.”
Attanasio and his co-founder Luisa Huang have 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 method 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 usage of their very own facial expressions. The ensuing cartoons may 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 via including their very own animations, akin to shedding an anvil into the scene.
This might remind you of animojis, the emojis animated via facial recognition era that Apple introduced closing month. However, Attanasio mentioned the 2 products and services are attempting to do various things — animojis are conversation gear, whilst Toonstar is all about leisure. (Plus, you don’t want to look forward to 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 via permitting customers to grow to be themselves into different characters, or even complete casts of characters.
The Toonstar app is popping out of beta trying out as of late. The corporate says that right through its 3 months in beta, the app attracted 20,000 customers, and the cartoons created have been seen 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 presentations.
“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 every 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 via Science Inc., with participation from Jon Goldman’s GC VR Gaming Tracker Fund, Manta Ray and Social Starts.