Ready for another GIF keyboard for iOS 8? Blippy has returned today with a new app that lets you create, save and discover new GIFs to use when messaging with your friends on your iPhone. The app serves to replace the earlier, also GIF-focused, Blippy iOS app, that was pulled from the App Store back in September.
Those with long Internet memories may remember the name Blippy as being associated with that startup that tried and failed to “socialize” consumer shopping data. But in 2013, a different group of entrepreneurs launched a new Blippy after acquiring the Blippy domain from its prior owners. That app, which also made it possible to find and make animated GIFs, eventually grew to over 10,000 users. However, it arrived at a time before iOS 8, meaning it was a standalone experience. Ultimately, that may have limited its growth.
In September 2014, the company pulled Blippy from the App Store in anticipation of creating a new experience for iOS 8, which was then just arriving. “We had been working on a simplification of the core experience in preparation for a relaunch because we were really excited about our ability to deliver the experience we always wanted with the custom keyboards of iOS 8,” explains co-founder David King, a serial entrepreneur who sold his social gaming company Green Patch to Playdom (which sold to Disney) prior to starting the new Blippy.
The company hasn’t talked much about funding, but in 2012, the team raised over $5 million according to an SEC filing.
Backing the startup are a number of well-known angel investors including SV Angel, Founder Collective, Max Levchin (founder PayPal, Affirm), Keith Rabois (entrepreneur, partner Khosla Ventures), Kevin Hartz (Founder/CEO Eventbrite), John Hering (founder Lookout), Harj Taggar (entrepreneur, former partner, YCombinator), Elad Gil (angel investor, entrepreneur, former-VP at Twitter), Eric Wu (Founder/CEO OpenDoor), Othman Laraki (angel, entrepreneur, former VP Growth at Twitter), Steve Lee (Product Director, Google X), Jawed Karim (co-founder of YouTube), Lee Linden (entrepreneur, Commerce, Facebook), Ali Rosenthal (angel, ex-Facebook mobile, VP Wealthfront) and Naval Ravikant (Founder/CEO of AngelList).
The new Blippy app, out today on the iTunes App Store, offers a simple interface for finding, saving and using GIFs. Users can upload any GIF from their Camera Roll into the app or search the internet to find GIFs they like. That latter option is notable since some of the GIF keyboard competitors have more limited libraries to select from.
In addition, Blippy’s particular focus is on allowing its users to build their own custom keyboard using their collected GIFs. Instead of always searching for new GIFs every time you want to jazz up your iMessage conversations, Blippy lets you save your favorites for easy access. As you browse through search results, swiping right lets you add the GIF to your collection for later use.
As with most other GIF keyboard apps, you can also view popular GIFs on the service, and using GIFs your messages is as simple as a couple of taps to copy and paste.
The app is now one of many new GIF-focused iOS 8 keyboards available, including Riffsy, Kanvas, PopKey, and others. (Frankly, I’m having a hard time choosing my favorite. I find they each have their strengths. But I’m loading up Blippy today to give it a spin, too.)
The new app is a free download on iTunes.