Remember when simply uploading a still photo of your brunch was enough to get dozens of likes on Instagram or Facebook? Well, those days are gone now, thanks in large part to the popularity of Vine, as well as Instagram’s video-sharing feature. Fuzel for iOS, which made the App Store’s Best of 2012 list, has added an animated slideshow tool to keep up with the demand for more dynamic content.
When it first launched, Fuzel’s competitors included other collage makers like Diptic. Its latest update means Fuzel is now also up against slideshow makers such as Flipagram, which recently raised a reported $50 million to $60 million from Sequoia, and video-collage maker PicPlayPost.
The majority of Fuzel’s users, 70%, upload their creations to Instagram, while 20% prefer Facebook (maybe you can make your own Look Back video if you don’t want to wait for the promised editing tool).
Fuzel, which is made by Vietnamese startup Not A Basement Studio, stood out from other photo apps by offering a wide selection of collage templates, ranging from simple grids to wackier mosaics of different shapes, and embellishments. Fuzel’s animated slideshow tool also lets you chose from a wide range of layouts and includes several cool features, such as auto-syncing your photos to the beat of whatever track you upload from iTunes.
Part of Fuzel’s appeal is that its unique templates disguise out-of-focus or poorly composed pictures, letting you turn even your most mundane snapshots into a catchy video. This makes it different from Flipagram, which focuses on full-frame slides.
“A lot of us aren’t professional photographers. Our photos are really normal and just snapshots we take on the street or of our daily lives,” says Not A Basement Studio co-founder Hieu Tran. “When you put those ordinary photos into collage form, however, it can turn them into a memorable story.”
Tran says Fuzel was designed to be easy to use while still offering many customization options. For example, the app automatically arranges your pictures into a template, but you can edit each frame in a collage separately. Its freemium model also makes it accessible to its young user base, of whom 70% are aged 15 to 28.
If you don’t have a credit card or are on a tight budget but still want access to embellishment packs and new editing tools, you can accumulate points for in-app downloads by watching ads, referring friends, or liking Fuzel on various social networks.
The team behind Not A Basement Studio met in 2010 while studying in Singapore before moving back to Vietnam. The first app they built was Manga Rock, a reader for iOS and Android. The startup was bootstrapped but is now profitable, thanks in good part to Fuzel’s popularity throughout Southeast Asia.
Tran says Not A Basement Studio hasn’t ruled out taking outside capital, but wants to find investors who can also serve as mentors as they continue to add more storytelling features Fuzel.