A new application called Cliptone, which lets you share short video clips with friends, has grown to over 22,000 downloads in the five days it’s been live on the App Store. And that’s before the company did any press or put out an official announcement. According to founder Rick Kats, the app has taken off within some high schools for private sharing purposes, and is now mainly growing through word-of-mouth.
As of today, the app has climbed from the low 600s in the “Social Networking” category on iTunes to rank #158, which is not bad for a new app just a few days old. While, of course, Cliptone still has far to go to establish itself as any sort of significant hit, the early numbers have the team hopeful.
That’s good because Cliptone is actually the third pivot for this 500 Startups-backed company, which previously raised a small seed round of which it only has $150,000 left. Previously focused on a Pinterest marketing service called Reachli, the company is now fundraising again as Cliptone.
Pinterest ended up blocking Reachli, Kats explains, adding also: “lesson learned – don’t ever rely on another fast-growing company.” Well, yep.
Though a number of mobile messaging companies have played around with a voice messaging feature before, Cliptone is not exactly in the same ballpark. That is, it’s not having you add a voice clip to a static photo, for example, as many competitors offer. Instead, users are able to record a short (up to 10 seconds) video clip, then share it with friends, optionally adding voice filters and background music along the way.
The many, many kids using the app seem to be taking advantage of these features for sharing goofy messages with high-pitched or weirdly low-sounding voices. As a very old person, comparatively speaking, I don’t get the appeal, but could imagine a fairly young crowd thinking this is hilarious. However, it’s unclear if kids are just having a little fun with Cliptone now, while it’s this new toy, or if they’re going to stick around in the app for the long-term.
“I find that the really special part about the app is that it’s so authentic and raw and at times silly,” says Kats, noting that Cliptone combines easy to record video (just press and hold, like Vine), short clips, and voice filters. “These elements created something unique in our app which I have not seen in any other apps to date,” he says.
Cliptone doesn’t make public sharing the default, but a number of kids are choosing to turn this on, which allows the app to offer a stream of the most recent and popular posts in the app, as well as links that can be shared on the web.
The company shut off the SMS invite feature in this version when it had a waitlist of 45,000, because they were struggling to keep up with the costs of using Twilio. (The next version will re-enable SMS, but users will send the text invites themselves.) You can still invite friends one-by-one, but not your entire contact list, Kats notes – but that may be a good thing, since a number of apps have abused the SMS invite feature in the past, and if Cliptone got too aggressive, it could have led to bad reviews.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for something silly to play with, Cliptone is a free download here on iTunes.