Giphy Wants To Become A Full-Fledged, Gif-Based Media Company

Giphy, which launched out of betaworks in 2013 as a search engine for gifs, is evolving into something much bigger. In the last year, we’ve seen Giphy launch a standalone mobile app for creating your own gifs, called GiphyCam. We’ve also seen Giphy partner with tech companies like Facebook and Slack for seamless gif sharing.

Meanwhile, Giphy offers original content through its artist studio and works with content partners like Disney, HBO and The Hunger Games, to share licensed content. Giphy has a solid handle on allowing people to share produced content, but it has only just begun to crack the surface of user-generated content tools.

“We’ve been concentrating a bunch on making a lot of cool stuff to help people insert themselves into those gifs, into those moments of that conversations,” Giphy COO Adam Leibsohn told TechCrunch. “So, GiphyCam is just a start. There’s a lot of editing tools we’re going to be releasing soon on the desktop to help people do stuff that are really fast and really cool. So, make a gif in seconds, make anything into a gif really fast, make it beautiful, share it out into the API, into any messaging app, into any integration we’ve got. So, we’ll essentially become this one-stop shop to find and distribute and host and create. We’re essentially a media company.”

Ultimately, Giphy wants to be the platform that powers every aspect of gif communication, whether it’s enabling the creation of content, licensing content or sharing content on platforms like Facebook and Slack through its API.

“As we’re increasingly stuck inside of messengers or texting, words and keyboard input is still going to be pretty clumsy,” Leibsohn said. “What is fast and universal, and immediately recognizable and translatable, are the bits and pieces of content that we share all day long and that’s what Giphy gets the best of.”

In Slack, for example, /giphy is the command people use more than anything else, Leibsohn said. Meanwhile, sees more than 60 million unique visitors a month, and its API receives over 2 billion monthly calls. All of that activity ultimately results in tens of billions of gifs served per month. Data like that is what makes Giphy believe that the company is really onto something, and that it can scale. Also, gifs are just really fun to use.

Can it make an 8-year-old, a 35-year-old and a 70-year-old entertained and happy? Can it get people excited? Can it create a lasting and more engaging conversation?  Yes, to all of that stuff,” Leibsohn said. “And that to me means this is bigger than anyone thinks it is.”