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article imageTyra Banks invests in Canadian startup's 'living photo' app

By Alex Guibord     Aug 14, 2013 in Technology
The Flixel Cinemagraph smartphone application gains international exposure and new investors by partnering with the hit U.S. reality television series "America’s Next Top Model" (ANTM) for the 2013 season.
The new deal will produce over 100 Flixel-branded cinemagraphs for ANTM Cycle 20, including “living photos” for each judging session and “Tyra Mail” segments. The photo-sharing service debuted on the show's August 8, 2013 episode.
What's more, Cranson Capital today announced it closed $770,000 in financing for Flixel, which includes $395,000 from wealthy investors and a $375,000 loan investment from the Canada Media Fund (CMF).
Flixel Photos, a Toronto-based software company, developed the app allowing users to quickly create high quality cinemagraphs: a still image that shows one or more isolated moving parts.
“The fashion industry is always at the forefront of innovation, and Flixel is leading the way to the next major evolution in photography,” Ms. Banks said in a released statement. “The edgy, cool influencers in the fashion industry and advertising are going to take this and run with it, because they are always looking for new ways to 'wow' their audiences.”
Flixel’s process allows photographers, videographers and graphic artists to activate motion in a still scene using brush strokes. Whether it’s a dramatic hairstyle or gown blowing in the wind, this increasingly popular medium elevates the 25-year-old animated GIF into an art form for high fashion.
Ms. Banks, a famous supermodel and businesswoman, invested in the self-proclaimed “future of photography” through The Tyra Banks Company’s investment arm, Fierce Capital.
“It was just under a year ago when Tyra Banks and the producers of America’s Next Top Model sought out our company and requested a demo,” Flixel CEO Philippe LeBlanc told The Globe and Mail. “They were comparing apps for quality and speed, and Flixel stood out – hands down.”
Mr. LeBlanc earned recognition for his patent-pending technology because it captures and reveals the motion in a still scene in seconds instead of hours. The entrepreneur from Moncton, N.B. started the privately held company in 2011 with $250,000 of seed capital investments from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF), Mantella Venture Partners, BDC Venture Capital and other investors.
Flixel Photos also collaborated with Macy’s for its Marilyn Monroe fashion collection (see featured video above).
The competition in the mobile photo space includes established giants like Instagram and Flickr, as well as comparable startups like Montreal’s Cinemagram (which already counts Ms. Banks among its early adopters).
The App Store offers both the basic Flixel Cinemagraph app and the Flixel Cinemagraph Pro app (offering advanced features) on Apple devices with iOS 6.0 or later.
Flixel Cinemagraph smartphone application
Flixel Cinemagraph smartphone application
Flixel Photos
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