Online platform for GIFs, Giphy, has managed to raise a gargantuan $72 million of funding in its latest round of investments. The funding round, which was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Institutional Venture Partners and China Media Capital, brings the total monies raised by Giphy to around $151 million — at a valuation in the neighborhood of $600 million.
Giphy’s rise and indeed, its current business model as well, is pretty interesting. The company kicked off as a Hacker-in-Residence program and literally exploded into a full-fledged company. Giphy’s basic aim was merely to make GIFs more organized and search-able — You had Google Images for pictures, but what about GIFs? So that is how Giphy came up.
However, the company has now grown drastically and at present offers a whole bunch of tools. Some of Giphy’s tools give you the ability to turn video into a GIF. There is also a GIF keyboard called Giphy Keys which does exactly what you think it does. Apart from these primary products, the company also has a whole roster of other, enterprise level tools that can help media companies turn their content into GIFs.
Another very interesting fact about the company is that it does not monetize how other, similar companies usually do. It is actually more a question of can’t then doesn’t. Most of Giphy’s GIFs are based upon TV, movies, celebrities or other content that is liable to be protected by copyright — as such, the company has chosen to offer its plethora of tools and resources to publishers and media companies for absolutely free.
So yes, the company is not exactly a suitable destination for those who are looking for quick returns. With the growing popularity of GIFs however, it is inevitable that Giphy will come up with a revenue stream or other one of these days. The how is certainly a huge question as most of its GIFs use copyright-able content one way or other. That said though, the company is doing well at present and expanding into ever more directions — propelled by steady investments.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what direction the company’s business model takes, once it turns its attention to the question of generating revenue.