UPDATED 21:57 EST / FEBRUARY 16 2016


Animated GIF search engine Giphy raises $55m Series C on $300m valuation

Animated GIF search engine Giphy, Inc. has raised $55 million Series C in a round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners that included General Catalyst Partners, RRE, Betaworks, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, CAA and other unnamed existing investors.

According to reports, the round was raised on a $300 million valuation.

Founded in 2013, Giphy’s primary offering includes a search engine that indexes animated GIFs, as well as offering hosting for those who wish to upload their own GIFs on the site itself.

On top of that base offering, the company has expanded into complementary tools including a GIF maker that allows users to upload video or take a clip from a YouTube video and turn them into a new animated GIF, and a GIF Cam that allows users to record parts of their lives and turn them into animated GIFs.

Giphy has also partnered with leading studios in Hollywood, TV networks, music labels, production companies, sports leagues and thousands of other content partners to create GIFs.

“Our GIF making tools are used by some of the biggest publishers on the internet and the most creative people in the world,” the company said in a statement. “And, our apps help everyone find, share, discover, and create the perfect GIF.”

No money

Despite sitting on a $300 million valuation, one remarkable standout with Giphy so far is that it hasn’t attempted to monetize the site; to make that clear it’s not attempted to make money and failed, it just hasn’t tried to make money yet.

The company claims to have grown 500 percent in a year, and publicly available stats from Alexa show it to be the 470th most popular site on the internet, a remarkable figure in itself give that most of its traffic wouldn’t hit the site directly but would come via hosted images appearing on other sites, but here’s the rub: all that bandwidth doesn’t pay for itself.

Conversely, it could be argued that Giphy is still young and has time to find ways to make money, but hosted images at their scale, despite the constant fall in hosting prices as the cloud continues to change the economics of the market, is still going to be a considerable undertaking, and of note the company didn’t disclose why it was raising the new round, but it wouldn’t be hard to guess: they have to pay for their hosting bill.

No startup can last forever without a source of income, so the challenge ahead for Giphy is to not only use the new round to get its hosting bills paid but to use some of it to find ways to make money out of what is a seriously large amount of traffic.

Including the new round, Giphy has raised $78.95 million to date.

Image credit: Giphy/screenshot.

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