Happy Birthday Animoto. You Guys Make Me Happy

New York based Animoto, which turns one year old today, is one of those startups that has success written all over it. And I bet it’s a fun place to work too. We are unabashed fans of this do-one-thing-very-right service.

If you aren’t yet a user, here’s what it does: It creates videos that combine music and your photos. You upload photos directly to the service or authorize it to grab them from Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket, Smugmug or Picasa. Then it adds music you upload or that you select from the site and creates a video. It’s a variant on Slide, RockYou and similar services who for the last year have been much more focused on their Facebook Application business.

The service now has 250,000 users in 200 countries and 4 million or so videos have been viewed 50 million times.

The basic service is free and users can create videos up to 30 seconds long (that lets Animoto sidestep copyright mess on the songs). If you pay $30 a year or $3/video the time restriction is removed. Videos can be watched on the site, embedded on other sites, or downloaded in MP4 format for free. Users can also have a DVD printed and sent to them for $20, or download a high res (864×480) version in MP4 or ISO format for $5. Today they are also releasing a customized link that lets users easily view videos on their iPhone.

To date they’ve taken two rounds of financing, including an undisclosed amount from Amazon in May 2008.

Happy birthday Animoto. Focus on the core product and keep making cool stuff.