Thursday, Jan 23 @ 7am (PT)
YAKiT - App Store URL
YAKiT Kids - App Store URL
Freak'n Genius Info
Freak'n Genius is releasing two apps into the iTunes App Store and announcing funding
Update 1/23: Apple App Store features new app, YAKiT Kids, as #4 Best New App, #1 Best Kids App, and #1 Best Kids 6-8 App
Ages 13+ w/ in-app social feed
v1.0 Brand New
12 & Under, Kid safe
What are we announcing?
‣ The brand new release of YAKiT Kids
‣ YAKiT v3.0 release with a complete re-design that now includes an in-app feed with channels of user-created videos, new animated stickers, and more
‣ Strategic investment from Windforce Ventures, NYC
It's Freak'n Genius's mission to capture and unleash humor and the imagination in fun and interesting ways that have never before been possible.
YAKiT makes it so you can bring any photo to life in seconds. Just speak to animate, all from the pocket.
With 880 billion photos expected to be taken in 2014, people are hungry for new and interesting ways to express themselves. 2013 was the year of the #selfie, which means people getting more comfortable looking inward. It begins with inward to the skin, and next, it's inward as a human. That means people will look more to showing their personality and creativity to really stand out. The next trend is going to be the #talkingselfie, which adds context and life to the photo, and beyond that, #talkingANYTHING, where the personality, imagination, and sense of humor really gets a chance to shine.
Freak'n Genius is making that possible having discovered this really odd and interesting spot between photo and video, where ordinary people are transformed into animators without trying, and certainly without all of the painstaking effort that animation traditionally consisted of, turning hours and days worth of work, into seconds of fun. And unlike Instagram, Vine, and a sea of other photo/video sharing apps that are used for real-time capture or even real-life capture of moments and experiences, absolutely nothing is off-limits with what you can bring to life with your imagination and YAKiT. With our new in-app video feed, people can inspire and entertain each other, and even share back to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and virtually everywhere else to engage and connect with their audiences.
Now people can put on a virtual mask, disguise their voice and share a message or tell a story as ANYONE or ANYTHING. This is a psychologically powerful concept where people can truly open up and be fun, expressive, creative, and comfortably weird. It's very similar to our CEO's previous experience when he was the GEICO Gecko mascot - a core inspiration for the products we've built.
The Two Products:
• Create a 15 second animation in less than 60 seconds
• Overlay image with animated stickers: facial features, props, characters, and special effects
• 5 voice-changing options
• Instant sharing to Facebook, Twitter and YAKiT
• Save vids to your phone to share to Instagram, Reddit, Youtube, or more
• Unlimited uploads
• Personal profile with all of your created videos
• Interact with other Yakkers by giving and receiving reactions & comments
• Explore Editor's Picks and Channels: Comedy, Animals, Kids & Family, Food, Weird, Music
• A Global Video Feed
• Video Channels
• Creation in Portrait mode
• New animated stickers - facial features, characters, and props
• React & Comment on others' videos
• Custom username and user profile
• Complete interface re-design
• Make 15 second animated videos with multiple scenes
• Change the pitch of the voice to make it even funnier
• Add expressive animated stickers to customize the photos - including facial features, props, characters, and special effects
• Save the videos directly to your phone to send anywhere
YAKiT Kids won’t collect any personal information or include any third-party advertising, in-app purchases, or social sharing features.
Who is this for?
With the early version of YAKiT, we have already seen the first 500,000 videos created, and it's being used by an expansive range of demographics, in the same way everyone can use a pencil to jot a thought. Here are a few ways it's already being used:
Education: Teachers are using it to engage students in learning and students are using it for history and english reports, or for Kindergarteners to learn phonics. YAKiT Kids meets Common Core Standards.
Teens: Until today, it was difficult to get your personality through your device, especially humor and sarcasm. Text and emoticons just aren't cutting it, so young people use YAKiT as a way to communicate in a more fun way.
Brands and Social Media: Because YAKiT can very quickly create volumes of engaging videos, brands can create product spots or just connect with their audiences with refreshing and timely content through their social media channels.
Parents & Kids: This is the new toy that kids are clamoring to play with, making their pets and toys talk. Parents love it because their children are actually being creative and not treating their mobile devices like a digital pacifier. And with people expected to spend up to 15.5hrs a day by 2015 staring into screens to consume media, this helps turn some of that time from consumption to creation and tapping their imaginations.
Everyone else: YAKiT is used to tell weird and funny stories, to talk smack to competing sports fans, create music videos, send sentimental messages for holidays or birthdays, political satire, "celebrity endorsements", talking food, animated memes, movie trailers, and more. Before long we'll see the first YAKiT-created Superbowl commercial, or YAKiT-created children's TV show.
YAKiT was used to create a Seattle Seahawk's music video called "What Does the Hawk Say?!" (from the Bob River's parody song) that the Seahawks stated was the #1 anthem for the NFC Championship, and the video has almost a million views on Youtube.
It's clear that with the billions of smart devices already in our pockets, the almost trillion pictures being taken, and providing a dead simple and even fun way to make something from the pocket, we can unleash a creative revolution with Freak'n Genius carving the path and leading the way.
YAKiT Kids - Product Shots
More video samples created by users
Embed: <iframe src="http://freakngenius.com/ye/484A" width="512" height="512" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>
Embed: <iframe src="http://freakngenius.com/ye/57E5" width="512" height="512" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>
Embed: <iframe src="http://freakngenius.com/ye/2719" width="512" height="512" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>
Embed: <iframe src="http://freakngenius.com/ye/5474" width="512" height="512" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>
New Funding for Freak'n Genius
Our company closed another $275,000 as a strategic investment from Windforce Ventures. Partners from Windforce Ventures include the Founder & President of 24/7 Laundry Service, and the CEO of MovieLoft, social media agencies that can have YAKiT power some of their brand's "snackable content" for social media and reach their audience of tens of millions.
More about Freak'n Genius & the team
Freak'n Genius is a TechStars company that was birthed at Seattle Startup Weekend in late 2011 to help unleash creativity through storytelling and self-expression. The company graduated from the Microsoft Kinect Accelerator in 2012, is an alum of Startup Weekend's NEXT program, and the Washington Interactive Network's REACTOR Accelerator.
Chief Freak, Kyle Kesterson, is a serial-entrepreneur who previously was the Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of the Techstars company, Giant Thinkwell (now Haiku Deck). Prior to that was a Toy Developer for the world's largest bobble-head company and Illustrator who won Seattle 2.0's "Best Startup Designer" and was Geekwire's "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" nominee for 2013. Kyle has also taken the stage at TEDx to share his story from being homeless and a dropout, to an artist and entrepreneur.
CTO, Dwayne Mercredi is the Genius of Freak'n Genius, having written much of the app's code, built an animation engine, video infrastructure, web players, and more. Dwayne's last company Attassa was acquired by YouSendit in late 2010.
Engineer Zak Arntson comes from a long history of Nintendo DS and mobile game development, and Gillian Pennington is a graduate from UW's entrepreneurial program, CEO of SwaggaSuits, and also was the Geico Gecko mascot in a previous life.
"YAKiT is the future for content creation from your pocket. Why limit yourself to capturing and sharing what's in front of you when you can unleash your humor and personality by putting on a mask?" - Kyle Kesterson
"People and brands are creating an insane amount of snackable content everyday. It started with photos and moved into video. Now Yakit’s impressive technology is allowing anyone with a smartphone to animate their content, taking a previously very complex process and mobilizing it. There is great consumer and enterprise potential for YAKiT and its tech." - Jason Stein, Windforce Ventures Managing Partner and 24/7 Laundry Service Founder/President