JibJab, one of the first companies that let people insert selfies into videos, gifs and e-cards, has been acquired by Catapult Capital. The Los Angeles-based private equity firm announced the deal today, but did not disclose financial terms. A portion of financing was provided by investment firm Cloud Capital.
According to Catapult Capital’s site, it focuses on middle-market transactions, targeting internet, consumer and tech companies that are profitable, or nearing profitability, and past the venture stage. The firm’s investment size is usually $10 million to $100 million and it works with portfolio companies to “develop a China angle,” including new revenue channels. JibJab COO Paul Hanges was promoted to CEO after the acquisition.
Founded in 1999 by brothers Evan and Gregg Spiridellis after they saw “an animated dancing doodie streaming over a 56K modem,” JibJab’s big break came during the 2004 presidential campaign, when its satirical “This Land” racked up more than 80 million views. Two years later, JibJab launched JokeBox, allowing users to upload their own videos, photos, audios and text jokes. In 2012, JibJab branched into children’s entertainment with StoryBots, which is now part of independent production company StoryBots Inc. and known for the popular Netflix series “Ask the StoryBots.” According to Crunchbase, JibJab raised a total of $17.9 million, including its last round, a $7.5 million Series C announced in 2009.
JibJab’s current products include an app that (similar to JokeBox) lets users turn selfies into e-cards, music videos and gifs, but of course it is now one of many apps in a very crowded marketplace, competing to insert your likeness into Bitmojis, Memojis, filters and other content.
Gary Hsueh, founding partner of Catapult Capital, said in a press statement that “JibJab has created a successful business through a combination of product innovation, premium content, and entrepreneurial spirit. With the addition of our product, operational, and distribution resources to support the company’s evolution, we intend to accelerate JibJab’s new growth phase. We look forward to working with Paul, our co-investors, and the JibJab team to continue growing the business and expanding into new markets and formats.”