Animoto®, the video creation platform that lets consumers and businesses easily create professional-quality videos from their own photos and music, today announced that the company has received $4.4 million in funding, led by Madrona Venture Group. Additional investors include Jeff Clavier’s SoftTech VC and Bruce Livingstone, the founder of iStockphoto, as well as Amazon.com, which originally invested in Animoto in May 2008.
“Since founding Animoto we’ve focused on delivering a simple user experience with a clear business model to allow anyone the ability to create professional video” said Brad Jefferson, CEO & Co-founder of Animoto. “We’ve created a base of raving fans and have been operating at cashflow positive since December 2008. In Madrona we have found a partner who enthusiastically believes in the creative vision and financial opportunity we see for Animoto. Madrona’s leadership and investment will help accelerate our product roadmap, distribution strategy, and team growth.”
Launched in August 2007, the Animoto website currently has 750,000 registered users, and approximately 10% of those users have paid for premium services. Additionally, Animoto’s Facebook application has 2 million users and Animoto’s iPhone application has 300,000 users.
The heart of Animoto is its patent-pending Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology that thinks like an actual director and editor using the same sophisticated post-production skills and techniques that are used in television and film. The technology takes into account every nuance of a song: the genre, song structure, energy, rhythm, instrumentation, and vocals. No two videos are ever the same; even videos generated from an identical set of images and music will each have a completely distinct set of motion design. Videos are produced in widescreen format and can be emailed, embedded on any website, or downloaded in DVD-quality formats for display on computers, televisions, and even large projection screens.
“Animoto’s very talented team and break-through products have redefined multi-media storytelling and photosharing” said Matt McIlwain, Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group. “Animoto’s success in cost-effectively generating almost 100,000 paying customers across consumers, businesses and professional photographers establishes them as the market leader with great potential for the future.” Mr. McIlwain has joined the company’s Board of Directors.
In recent months, Animoto has won numerous awards for Animoto.com. Animoto’s latest recognition was winning both the Judges Choice and People’s Voice awards for Best Services & Applications website at the 2009 Webby Awards, hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by the New York Times.
Madrona is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on building leading technology companies. Started in 1995, the firm has established a reputation of partnering with entrepreneurs, investors and advisors to create value together. The firm has a diversified portfolio of early-stage, technology-driven companies in the areas of Consumer Internet, Commercial Software and Services, Digital Media and Advertising, Networking and Infrastructure, and Wireless. Representative investments include Amazon.com, Classmates.com, Farecast, ShareBuilder, and Isilon Systems.