Profile: Giphy

Eric Ray Davidson / Giphy

Eric Ray Davidson / Giphy

Most internet users aren't strangers to gif files. Now-a-days, we can see these repetitive animated photos online, with an extent of prominence on social media platforms like Tumblr and Twitter. Like video files, gif files contain multiple frames of the same moving image. Surprisingly, only a small portion of the internet users actually know these animated images are called gif, and even more surprisingly, gif files existed as far back as 1987 despite their popularity among young internet users in recent years. The oldest gif file should be around 30 years old now.  Some of the classic gif like the “8 bit dancing banana” may even be older than many internet users. 

In fact, gif files are mostly popular among young millennials. Internet users have always animated photos, but not everyone knows how to create their own gifs. Before the availability of free gif creation tools online, gifs used to be only entertainment studios have the technology to produce. Many ordinary internet users didn’t understand the method behind the moving images. Then, with the free gif creation tools that had emerged online, more internet users began creating gifs for fun, business purposes, or to spread awareness of a cause.

Even after the free online gif tools brought to light the process of creation, sharing gif files on the internet was still a difficult task. Many forums, chatrooms, or social media platforms didn't support gif files. Many uploaded gifs simply became an image file like a jpeg file - the animation lost in the uploading process itself. It was trouble for users who finished creating an amazing gif; they weren't share it with others. Tumblr soon looked at this problem and came up with a solution that revolutionized their image. Now Tumblr became a social media platform full of animated gifs. Not until very recent years have internet users began expressing their feelings on instant messenger conversations and in forums. Some content writers include gifs in their articles to make the content more interesting. The sad truth is that not many readers can finish reading online articles without images. 

With the recent rise in gif prominence, Giphy seeks to not only be one of the online gif creation and sharing service websites, but also aims to be a search engine for gifs themselves. If a user wanted to look for one of the many animated gifs of cute cats, they may simply search for cute cats in the search bar and witness the overwhelming results of Giphy user submitted cat gifs. In addition, even non Giphy users can upload or create their own gifs through Giphy. This gives Giphy the potential of having a larger database, as all Internet users have the ability to upload gifs and generate a link within their website. It is also convenient for users who only wanted to use Giphy only once or twice without registering. These features are similar to the famous image sharing platform Imgur, but only with animated photos.

“Giphy was thought up over breakfast with my project partner, Alex Chung, while musing on the rise of purely visual communication,” Jace mentioned in the interview with Daily Dot. “We both couldn’t get over how cumbersome it still was to find and share GIFs, and thought we could do something about it.”

Giphy was founded by Alex Chung and Jace Cooke in February 2013. This business idea came up when the founders were having a conversation of the difficulties and trouble involved when trying to send gif files online. Now, Giphy is available for gif sharing both on the computer and on smart phones. In addition, Giphy also released four other apps called Giphy Stickers, Giphy Capture, Giphy Cam, and Giphy Keys on Apple Store. Giphy Sticker is for the gif emojis, Giphy Capture allows users to capture and edit gif on an online video, Giphy Cam let users record a gif with their phone's camera to share, and Giphy Keys is where the quick search for cool gifs in Giphy’s database occurs. In the future, Chung is expecting that more internet users other than young millennials will continue to learn about gifs and use them more often due to their increased convenience. He also said that at this point, we have the technology of creating gifs, which was something only professional studios had the technology to create at the time. Now, his startup is making it even more accessible to share gifs online.

Giphy’s net worth was $300 million in February 2016. Even though it doesn’t have a large revenue stream, investors are investing onto Giphy and waiting for it to become a unique search engine and content platform based on gifs. Also, Giphy is now integrated into Twitter in the gif search function. Despite their success, Giphy is currently building relationships with hundreds of movie studios, TV networks, music labels, and marketing agencies. Pop culture gifs aren't exclusively made by passionate fans of certain movies or TV shows, but also serves as a marketing strategy. This not only helps Giphy expanding their database gifs, but also helps to spread the awareness of those movies and TV shows.

Sometimes complaining to a friend about how much trouble one goes through for a hobby can become a multi-million dollar business idea. To sum it up: whenever we encounter a technical problem, it is possible that other people are encountering the same problem, while actively searching for a solution. Solving your own problem is the same as solving others’ problem. Giphy is currently helping many in sharing and searching gifs on social media. A world changing entrepreneur, despite their fame, can someone who came up with a simple, out of the box idea towards fairly widespread, casual problems

PS: All of the gif in this articles were found in Giphy.