GIF keyboard maker Riffsy has raised a $10 million Series A to make sure you never have to communicate using only boring sentences and emojis again. The round was led by Menlo Ventures with participation from returning investor Redpoint Ventures, as well as Cowboy Ventures and Signia Venture Partners.
Along with seed funding it landed in November, Riffsy’s Series A brings its total raised so far to $13.5 million. Riffsy will use its new capital to build an Android version of its GIF keyboard and expand into international markets.
David McIntosh, the startup’s co-founder and CEO, tells TechCrunch that Riffsy’s custom iOS keyboard has already localized to more than 20 countries and is beginning to see traction in European countries where iPhones are popular.
In Asia, however, Riffsy has to compete with messaging services like Line, WeChat and KakaoTalk, which have attracted users thanks in part to the popularity of stickers. Like GIFs, stickers give users a quick way to share a sentiment without having to type it out on their tiny smartphone keyboards and are usually created through branding deals with major entertainment companies like Disney and Sanrio.
“In Asian markets where Riffsy has seen uptake, GIFs are being used alongside emoji and stickers. Whereas emoji are fixed, and stickers updated on fixed intervals, Riffsy is visual language that taps into the global consciousness,” says McIntosh. “The GIFs a user shares on a daily basis change daily depending on new memes, pop culture, and her own personal interests.”
The company claims that Riffsy has passed four billion monthly GIF views and that over half of people who have downloaded its GIF keyboard use it at least five days or more per week. When Riffsy launched last fall, it was the first iOS keyboard to let users search for and quickly add GIFs to SMS, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and other communication platforms.
Since then, rivals, including the well-received PopKey, have started gaining traction. Riffsy’s GIF Keyboard, however, has managed to hold on to continue outranking PopKey in the App Store, according to App Annie.