Mobile messaging is hot, with companies like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and others providing new ways of connecting users on their mobile devices. One startup with an interesting take on the mobile messaging market is Relay, which provides an easy way to share multimedia assets between friends. The company, which is based in Toronto and was part of the Extreme Startups Preccelerator, has raised $700,000 from a mix of Canadian and U.S. investors, including Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, The Social+Capital Partnership, Graph Ventures, and Real Ventures.
Relay provides an app for sharing web content easily with others. The app works by allowing its users to search for animated or still pictures and videos, and to deliver them to friends within the app. The viral nature of the app then lets them easily “relay” that content to other users in their network.
Users can either search their own camera rolls, or an extensive number of YouTube videos, still images, animated gifs, and other web content. Once users find what they want, they merely select a piece of content and send to another user. Even web pages are served up with a preview image and headline to show what it’s about. The idea is to make it so that users don’t see URLs, but immediately get additional visual context for what’s being shared.
The app can be used asynchronously, but if users happen to be on it at the same time, you can see if a friend or contact is looking at a video or image, and can chat about it while it’s being viewed.
Eventually, the Relay team wants to move from making mobile content easier to send and view, to making it easier to discover. By keeping tabs on who sends what images, videos, and web pages to whom, Relay will soon be able to provide suggestions based on content that’s popular with its users or is trending.