If Instagram and Draw Something had a baby, it would be Colorized. The iPhone app, which is developed by startup Happiness Engines, allows people to upload and turn photos into sketches, which they can actually draw on and color, remix and share.
The startup has also announced an undisclosed amount of funding from Michael Dearing, Naval Ravikant, Ariel Poler, Nils Johnson, David King, Elad Gil, Jon Love, Jack Herrick, Hunter Walk and others.
As Happiness Engines’ founder Yan-David Erlich explained to me, Colorized lets you transform the world around you into a social, coloring book. You start by taking a picture from app or import any photo in your phone’s camera roll, and the app will sketch it into a black & white outline. Using the touch interface on the phone you can then color or sketch on the image (or on a blank canvas) using the pencil, spray can, or eraser functions.
You can also add stamps – from mustaches to monocles to monsters and more. Once you publish the drawing, you can also share it to Facebook or Twitter. And you can invite Friends from your Contacts list or from Facebook to start sketch battles. Another social component of the app is a remix feature, which allows anyone to take an existing photo in the app, and create a new take on someone’s sketch.
“We’ve all been doodling since we were kids,” said Yan-David Erlich, the founder of Happiness Engines. “Colorized is the modern, social way to doodle.” He explains that he feels that although there are plenty of photo sharing apps like Instagram for consumers to play with; Colorized offers a more creative take on photo sharing and doodling. While he feels that the app will face competition from Angry Birds, Draw Something; Colorize allows users to “turn banal scenes into something interesting.”
Erlich adds that the technology behind the app’s ability to turn any photo into a sktech is fairly powerful and part of the app’s secret sauce.
Colorize is the first product for Happiness Engine, and the app is iPhone only for now but Erlich is considering an iPad app as well. The company’s team hails from Google, Playfish, LinkedIn, IDEO, Yahoo, VMware, and more. Erlich himself is a serial entrepreneur who founded business reviews startup ChoiceVendor, which was sold to LinkedIn in 20120. Prior to ChoiceVendor Elrich was an entrepreneur in residence at Battery Ventures and the founder and CEO of Mogad / Social.IM which was acquired by iSkoot in 2008. Previously, he also held software engineering and product management roles at Microsoft and Google.