Giphy’s First Acquisition, Nutmeg, Is A Big Step Towards Mobile

Giphy, the betaworks-backed Google of GIFs, has today announced its first acquisition.

Nutmeg, an GIF messaging app, will be joining the Giphy squad. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Giphy founder Alex Chung says that Nutmeg will remain alive with the entire Nutmeg development team joining Giphy.

Giphy’s focus moving forward is mobile, according to Chung.

“We have been focused on scale and the API, but we’re quickly looking at how we can do more on mobile,” said Chung. “Soon we’ll have a range of our own apps.”

Nutmeg launched back in June of last year with a relatively simple product. Users could scroll through a list of GIF categories, and then choose a specific GIF that matches their mood or expression. A single tap saves the GIF to the phone, and double tap pushes the GIF to the iMessage app so the user can simply input a recipient and shoot it off.

But Nutmeg founder Julie Logan has been working on Nutmeg for more than two years, and has been in conversation with Chung for the past year, with the duo discussing potential partnerships or integrations. After Giphy closed on a $17 million round of funding earlier this year, an acquisition just made sense, says Chung.

“Nutmeg and Giphy share the same philosophy, but Julie brings a lot of expertise around what we’re doing from the mobile perspective, and that’s invaluable,” said Chung. “The simplicity, the curation and the UX and the UI, drew us to Nutmeg.”

Giphy currently offers an API that allows for messaging integration. Kik, GroupMe and Slack are just a few apps that integrate with Giphy’s API, which offers a Translate feature, letting users type a word and translate that word into a gif.

“It’s more of a language than a format,” said Julie Logan. “Using the right GIF at the right moment, that fits the exact thought. It’s powerful.”

Nutmeg is one of the only beautiful, functional mobile apps to bring the GIF to SMS (though more are certainly coming). And it would make sense for Giphy to try and build something compatible with iMessage. But Giphy is looking far beyond any one platform or device.

“We want bring gifs, as a language, to every device, every platform, and every conversation,” said Logan.

Giphy launched out of betaworks back in the spring of 2013 and has since grown to an $80 million valuation.