It’s easier to slide into an existing behavior than invent an entirely new one.
So when Evan Tana went off to spin up his own mobile company while in residence at Greylock Partners, he tapped into a very familiar behavior.
We make memes and use gifs to express feelings in ways that words alone can’t capture.
Sparks, the new startup he co-founded with Daniel Hammond and Joao Oliveira Simoes, makes meme-making on mobile easy. You find a picture or animated gif through their image search engine, type in a short message, adjust its typeface and placement, and then publish it to friends.
“We think we applied enough constraints so you don’t have to over-think what you’re going to say,” Tana said. “When you pair text with visual communication, there’s a lot more you can do in a single space.”
As you’d guess, inside Sparks there is a news feed of memes and gif commentary that can also be shared on Twitter and Facebook.
“At a high level, what we’re building is a new way for daily interaction around sports, politics, celebrity gossip and movies,” Tana said. “This app lets you create and share ‘Sparks,’ which are these visual and expressive messages from your phone.”
Each Spark has tags, so they’re easily searchable. Right now, it’s more interesting to flip through Sparks’ channels to read what people are saying about the FIFA World Cup or politics than to make your own (at least for me).
Tana raised $2.3 million back in October and added Greylock’s John Lilly to the board. Other investors include CAA, Redpoint Ventures, Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom, Facebook and Quora’s Charlie Cheever, Aditya Agarwal of Dropbox and Facebook and Pulse co-founder Akshay Kothari.