yakit121Things are rolling for the folks over at Freak’n Genius.

Not only is the startup representing Seattle at the big Consumer Electronics Show or creating viral Seahawks videos, but now the company has announced more funding and updated apps.

Freak’n Genius rolled out a refreshed version of its YAKiT mobile app, which lets you manipulate the mouths of your family, friends, cats, dogs and really, just about anything. It’s essentially a souped-up version of JibJab, with added messaging and social sharing capabilities included.

YAKiT 3.0 now includes an in-app feed with channels of user-created videos, new animated stickers and social features like commenting and reaction mechanisms.

The company also raised another $275,000 in a strategic investment from Windforce Ventures. Jason Stein, founder of social media agency 24/7 Laundry, is a partner at Windforce and has joined the Freak’n Genius board.

Freak’n Genius, founded in November 2011, was an inaugural member of the 2012 Kinect Accelerator program. Total funding for the company stands at $775,000.

We caught up with CEO Kyle Kesterson while his team was in Las Vegas for CES, and you can read our conversation here.

Comments

  • Matt Hulett

    Congrats to Kyle and team!

  • http://www.fanzo.me/ Dana Dyksterhuis

    Big congrats Kyle and Dwayne!

  • StartupGuy

    Features not a business, would do better on a more robust social network with more users instead of trying to build their own. Not sure about the IP, but that would be the only thing worth buying this company for. They should stop raising money until they either get more traction or get to revenue. Also consider selling at this point.

    Tip to the founders, diluting equity with pocket sized rounds like this is the slow, painful way to kill your startup. You will find yourself raising money again in a few months with little buffer time in between rounds.

    • KyleKesterson

      Hey Startup Guy, appreciate the insightful feedback. It was good enough feedback to not have to be anonymous about it, as you seem like someone I could get great perspective from. (Unless we already know each other?)

      Not to be defensive, but to help give more context, I’ll say that it’s more than what you’re perceiving, even though you’re responding to what you’re seeing is justified.

      Features are not a biz, absolutely. However this isn’t a feature update as much as it is a thesis update. When we started with the creation tool, we found that people really lit up that they could make something happen in this way, it was special, but were quickly met with “well, what do I make?” and they hit a roadblock. Through some playing, and watching a 6yr old play with Play-Doh and how he solved that same problem of “well what do I sculpt?”, it was the inspiration on the box of play-doh that lit him up of WHAT to sculpt. We needed to create a way for people to see how other people used it. Already in the beta we’ve worked on have seen engagement and its stickiness dramatically increase, and the quality of expression and creativity evolve with it. We’re on track, and already today’s release has helped hit a few select checkboxes we were looking for.

      We raised enough to prove out this particular thesis, and will re-engage when seeing the proof scale in the way we’re looking for. Raising more than we needed before being at that point would have been what dilutes unnecessarily, yeah? This particular investment was very interesting to us given what comes with it to help get to where we need to be.

      Lastly I’ll just say, defensively, that your comment about the company only being worth the IP is silly and says everything I need to know. The current WHAT is just a wink at the WHY.

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