GIFs (or Graphics Interchange Formats), those hilarious and often animated clips that pervade your Tumblr timeline, are perhaps the purest form of digital escapism. And with tools like Emoji Gif, an app for Facebook Messenger, and Emoji Keyboard, a GIF-endowed keyboard for Android, they’re simpler to make than ever — a video, photo, or selfie is enough to generate a social-ready image. And now, thanks to search engines like Giphy, the process is becoming easier still.
On Tuesday, June 27, Kika Tech, the firm behind Emoji Gif and Emoji Keyboard, announced a partnership with GIF search engine Giphy. Giphy will become Kika Tech’s primary supplier of GIFs, and in return, Kika will put Giphy’s search tools in front of an audience of more than 30 million monthly active users in 77 countries.
“We chose to partner with Giphy for its searchable library filled with millions of GIFs which continues to multiply daily,” Bill Hu, co-founder and CEO of Kika Tech, said. “Kika users are always looking for the most interactive and freshest content to express themselves. This partnership with Giphy will only make the Kika ecosystem even more engaging and entertaining for our users.”
Kika has experienced impressive growth lately. Since establishing a new headquarters in Silicon Valley, California last year, it has raised millions of dollars, expanded its development team, and inked partnerships with Huawei, ZTE, 21st Century Fox, and Warner Brothers, among others.
“Kika has built an amazing platform that helps a global community communicate and share with one another,” David Rosenberg, Director of business development for Giphy, said in a statement. “Giphy is excited to partner with Kika to bring the best content in the world to these users and to become part of the way they talk to each other every day.”
But Kika isn’t the only one tapping into Giphy’s firehose of GIF data. In January 2016, Tinder announced a deal that put the search engine’s branding front and center. In October, Giphy launched a tool that let people convert “vines,” the six-second video format popularized by Twitter’s now-defunct Vine app, into GIFs. And in June, it teamed up with Vimeo to replace the platform’s video thumbnails with animated clips.
Giphy’s pursued solo projects, too. In October 2016, it rolled out an upgraded Giphy Cam app with augmented reality features: Using the app’s new tool, you can align a sticker or animation next to a photo’s real-life subject. Last year, the firm opened a production studio in Los Angeles to make its own GIFs as well as GIFs for outside partners. And in March 2017, Giphy launched Giphy Stickers, an app that generates GIF-based stickers you can share with friends.
Those efforts have paid off. The four-year-old Giphy, which serves more than two billion GIFs to more than 150 million users daily, has raised $150 million in funding and maintains a $600 million valuation.