Cartoon Messaging App Zoobe Closes Seven-Figure Seed Round

By David Knight |

Cartoon video messaging app Zoobe has secured an undisclosed seven-figure seed round. With a clear view to future monetisation, the company says the funding will be used to develop its service as a white label product for third party license holders.

Using Zoobe, you can create a personalised animated message by taking a recording of your voice, changing its pitch and adding it to a cute 3D character which moves its lips in synch with your words.

The new investment has come from the Berlin-based startup’s five original backers as well as four new ones – Thomas A. Curran (former Deutsche Telekom CTO), Rayk Reitenbach (IBB VC Technologie Fonds), and Lars Dittrich joining Christophe Maire (Atlantic Internet), Karl-Heinz Brandenburg (Brandenburg Ventures), Dario Suter (DCM), Jens de Gruyter (United Arts Ventures), and Udo Schloemer (JMES Investments).

Available on iOS and Android, Zoobe turns personal voice recordings into animated video messages, spoken by one of a selection of animated, 3D-modelled avatars. The platform uses patented speech recognition technology to lip sync a recorded voice message with an emotive avatar which is then laid over a background image or photo. It can be viewed instantly as a video message both on a device and via a URL.

It comes in two versions, Zoobe Pets and Zoobe Eve, featuring anthropomorphical animal characters and caricatured human avatars respectively. Zoobe also makes use of distributed cloud-based services to ensure instant processing and delivery of messages to recipients regardless of their location, as well as requiring minimal on-device storage space.

“Through Zoobe, we have created a vision of where personal messaging can go next; fully animated avatars as an extension of our online personalities,” said Lenard F. Krawinkel, CEO and founder of Zoobe. “This funding secures our immediate future plans, which we cannot wait to share with the world. Additionally, the portfolio of investors we have on board offer the level of experience and counsel we crave to get our business where we want it to be.”

Krawinkel has plenty of experience working no animated films including Back to Gaya and Animals United. He has also worked with star names such as Patrick Stewart, Stephen Fry and Jim Broadbent.

Repeat investor Christophe Maire said: “Zoobe represents a novel approach to sending more emotive, bespoke messages that we feel offers something genuinely different in the current market. Aside from the creativity on show in the native character design, we see enormous licensing potential for the future of mobile messaging.”