Giphy, Interview with CEO Alex Chung

giphy_logo_smGiphy is the online search engine for gifs. Alex Chung, the founder of the NYC-based company which recently raised funding from well known vc firms (read here), answered our questions and unveiled some impressive milestones already reached.

FinSMEs: Hi Alex. First, can you tell us a little bit more about you? What’s your background?
Alex: Started my career at Intel as a hardware engineer then joined some friends in 1998 to start the world’s largest CD trading company (Switchouse) which had over 1m users back then. Did multiple startups over the years worked at Paul Allen’s R&D lab, went back to design school at Parsons, directed music videos at MTV, designed a TV for GE, most recently created a YC backed startup called The Fridge that was acquired by Google, and was a hacker in residence at Betaworks where I launched Giphy.

FinSMEs: Let’s speak about Giphy. What’s the opportunity you found in the market?
Alex: We had a simple problem, we couldn’t find animated gifs online. At the time there was no gif search engine, even google didn’t have one, so we decided to build our own.

FinSMEs: How does Giphy work? Tell me something about the features…
Alex: Giphy first started as a simple searchable index of all the gifs we could find online. Now Giphy has become a destination not only to search but to discover, share and in a couple weeks create gif content.
We’ve been adding in direct content from:
– 150+ of the world’s top gif artists and growing
– 100s of the world’s best movie/tv/fashion gif producers like HBO, Showtime, Lionsgate, etc… Major sports leagues like MLB, etc…
First we did:
– Gifs on Facebook
– Gifs on Twitter
– Gifs on Google+, Pinterest
– Gifs on Instagram
and soon Gifs on iMessage which will be crazy when people figure out you can text gifs.
We have an email newsletter in the works as well as an MMS delivery system for gifs directly to your phone.

FinSMEs: Where are you now in terms of growth? Some numbers?
– 8m unique visitors a month (doubling every few months)
– 300m api requests
– 1.2b gifs served a month
– 12 employees
– hundreds of partners/artists

FinSMEs: You just raised funding. What can you tell me about the investors? How are you using the funds?
Alex: We have amazing investors in Betaworks, Lerer Ventures, RRE Ventures, CAA Ventures, and Alphaworks which is a crowdfunding platform and sister company. We raised the minimum amount of money we needed to grow Giphy to be the gif platform for the internet by the end of the year.

FinSMEs:…future plans?
Alex: Giphy’s goal is to turn every still image on the internet into a short preview and be the platform to search, share, and discover this content. Soon we’ll literally have every gif on the internet and will have the largest distribution network for gifs ever.

FinSMEs: you are based in Nyc, a fast growing startup ecosystem. What can you tell me about it? Exciting?
Alex: I started in SF in from 1998-2004 and was part of the startup community then. NYC has the same feel that SF did back then. It’s definitely the place to be. The greatest thing about NYC is the mix of long standing traditional media and social with the energy of the startup tech community.



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