‘Micro-YouTube’ Startup Emoticast Banks $5 Million From Sean Parker, Ynon Kreiz, Will.i.am, Other Investors

Emoticast, a U.K.-based startup whose apps generate music-based entertainment GIFs for mobile messaging, announced a “super angel” funding round of $5 million.

Investors in Emoticast include entrepreneur and Napster co-founder Sean Parker through Strangeloop Ventures; producer and Black Eyed Peas founding member will.i.am; DJ and producer David Guetta; Ynon Kreiz, former CEO of Disney’s Maker Studios; Jason Epstein, board member for Rhapsody International, parent company of Rhapsody and Napster; Nicole Junkermann through Montilla International; Alan Cannistraro, ex-Apple engineer and founder and CEO of video-app startup Rheo; and Archer Gray, a media production, finance and venture investment company.

London-based Emoticast’s TuneMoji apps and bots let mobile users share entertainment content across messaging platforms including Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Kik. Emoticast has worldwide licensing deals with Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, as well as with major publishing groups including Sony ATV, Warner Chappell Music, Universal Publishing Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and PRS/Impel. The company also plans to widen its focus beyond music GIFs to encompass film and TV.

Emoticast was founded in 2014 by James Fabricant, former director of business development and media for Myspace Europe, who calls the company “the micro-YouTube for messaging” built on premium licensed content.

“The backing of such high-profile individuals from the worlds of music, technology and entertainment is validation of the company’s success in catalyzing partnerships across the entertainment and messaging industries,” Fabricant said in a statement.

For the TuneMoji app, Emoticast has produced original content directly with music stars including Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran in addition to licensing songs for shareable GIFs. In April, under an exclusive collaboration with Kik, Snoop Dogg will take over TuneMoji’s bot on the service and let users share custom Snoop music GIFs.

“By partnering with Emoticast, we enable our music to enrich billions of daily messaging interactions and we create new avenues for value creation and unique marketing for our artists and songwriters,” Ole Obermann, chief digital officer and EVP for Warner Music Group.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Best Podcasts: 14 Podcasts You Should

    14 Podcasts You Should Be Listening to

    Here are a few of the informative, funny, thrilling and downright addictive podcasts that deserve your listening attention. Read Variety’s cover story, a deep dive into the podcast revolution with Conan O’Brien, right here. CaliphateThe New York Times Rukmini Callimachi’s reporting about the Islamic State is harrowing boots-on-the-ground journalism at its finest. Conan O’Brien Needs [...]

  • Lee-Daniels-headshot

    Lee Daniels Entertainment Announces Diverse Creative Workshop

    Lee Daniels Entertainment and the online entertainment network Represent by OMV have launched a diversity-focused creative workshop to promote a diverse group of new writers. The workshop will be held from Sept. 25-28 in Los Angeles, with travel provided by American Airlines. Industry professionals will mentor aspiring creatives from underrepresented communities with workshops, meetings with [...]

  • Apple-Card-on-iPhoneXs-screen

    Apple Card Launches in U.S. With 3% Cash Back on Apple, Uber Purchases

    Apple launched Apple Card, a new credit card tied to iPhones that it’s offering in partnership with Mastercard and Goldman Sachs, broadly in the U.S. The card, available to all qualified users in the U.S. starting Tuesday, is designed to encourage people to make more purchases from Apple and keep them in the iPhone ecosystem: [...]

  • Erika Nardini - Barstool Sports

    For Barstool Sports, Podcasts Are Now Around One-Third of Revenue

    Barstool Sports isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. The site trades in a style of raw humor and commentary that some find offensive. The company has a shoot-from-the-lip founder whose gags having included joking about union-busting, a move that would violate federal labor laws. But the brazen media outfit has drawn a large and loyal fanbase. [...]

  • Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend Podcast

    Conan O'Brien on Podcasting and Why Late-Night TV Rivalries Are Over

    “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” is an irresistible mixture of philosophical discussions about art and life and pure zaniness. It’s a program from the late-night host turned podcasting ringmaster that defies easy characterization, and a show that manages to move seamlessly from moments of hilarity to unexpected instances of confession. In one episode, Jeff Goldblum [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content