FlickPlay is where the creator economy and social networks converge
It isn’t every day I get to introduce a new genre-defining social app. That’s why I’m especially thrilled to announce Lightspeed’s seed investment in FlickPlay.
What Snap’s lenses did for selfies, FlickPlay intends to do for the rest of the world. By layering augmented reality filters over your phone’s outward-facing camera lens, FlickPlay enables an exciting new form of social story telling, combining elements of Snap, Pokemon Go, TikTok, and Instagram.
FlickPlay lives at the center of the emerging creator economy as well as the current digital art collectibles craze. It takes advantage of the enhanced AR capabilities of Apple’s new iPhone 13. And it’s easy and fun.
Users can point the camera at any object or person, choose an AR filter, add music and captions, then post the video to Insta, Facebook, Snap, or FlickPlay’s own social network. The app can be used to discover hidden artwork on walls and in pop-up museums, visible only through a FlickPlay lens. Or use these layers to create unique digital art, then trade or sell it to followers, turning social capital into financial capital.
The full gamified app will launch in just a few weeks when FlickPlay will introduce an interactive map, allowing users to navigate through the physical world collecting virtual tokens, playing AR games, and unlocking new location-based AR lenses. The first cities to have FlickPlay maps will be Los Angeles and New York, with more cities scheduled to come online soon.
One of the things I love about FlickPlay is that its growth has been 100 percent organic. Another is founder Pierina Merino. The Venezuelan native has an amazing background. She worked as an architect for Frank Gehry on the design of Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. She’s been a creative consultant to VR startups and started her own 3D printed accessories company — all before the age of 29. She intimately understands the FlickPlay community because she is part of it.
But I find FlickPlay a compelling investment for several other reasons as well.
* FlickPlay is social first. Social networks accrue value rapidly, especially those whose initial user base skews young and female. The app’s strong interactive elements will drive engagement and increase the quality of the user experience, enabling it to scale more quickly over the long term.
* It’s part of the growing creator economy. Some 50 million people are part of the creator economy; 30 percent of Gen Z aspires to be creators. As a new tool for AR storytelling, FlickPlay is well positioned to follow in the footsteps of Snap and TikTok.
* Digital ownership is on the rise. The interest in NFTs over the past 12 months is proof that digital art has become a big ticket item for collectors. The challenge is that it’s hard to display that one-of-a-kind YouTube video or iconic Internet meme on the wall of your summer home in the Hamptons. FlickPlay addresses this challenge by allowing collectors to display rare and coveted lenses across all their social media.
* It’s where IRL meets URL. Research has long shown that Millennials and Gen Z value experiences over physical goods; they also see less and less distinction between online and offline experiences. The Travis Scott concerts in Fortnite that attracted more than 12 million fans in April 2020 is just one example of that. FlickPlay combines both online and offline experiences in an immersive game-like setting.
Our investment, part of a $5 million seed round alongside Abstract and angels, will come at an opportune time for Pierina and her team, allowing them to scale their game content, add more cities to their interactive map, and launch new revenue models around digital ownership.
While other platforms are attempting to build a marketplace for digital art, FlickPlay intends to become the social home for virtual creativity. Its long-term strategy is to get people to come for the tool, but stay for the network. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.