By Anne Howard and Brandon Hinojos
Pop star Shawn Mendes, social media stars Jake Paul Cameron Dallas and Jake Paul invest in Genies Inc., smart emoji app, along with sports celebrities basketball player Russell Westbrook, and “The Comeback Kid” Joe Montana. The entertainment industry also jumped in with backing coming from CAA Ventures, production company Management 360, Prizeo, Represent‘s Bobby Maylack and former Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull. Other investors include NEA, Foundation Capital, Box Group, Great Oaks, Lerer Ventures and Trinity Ventures.
With the launch of its artificial intelligence (AR) emojis app, Genies Inc. closes an additional $3 million in strategic funding from influential investors to support the rollout. Currently, Genies, Inc. is valued at over $100 Million, raising over $15 million in a few rounds.
News media has changed drastically over the years, transitioning from traditional outlets to alternative sources such as social media, blogs, and podcasts, Genies Inc. is adding a personalized yet interactive twist with artificial intelligence. The company formerly known as Blend Systems Inc. has created the Genies App which allows users to become their news broadcaster with a customized emoji that looks and acts like them. Based on their preferences, these “mini clones” are programmed to respond to news stories with hundreds of thousands of pre-loaded physical and facial expressions. These diverse scenes of theatrics happen around 10-15 times per day and are shareable on their favorite social networks.
Genies Inc. CEO, Akash Nigam, said to The Scope Weekly:
…Changing the way people consume and share news by creating a disruptive new medium of infotainment. Our team has been working on this technology for more than a year. Not only do we plan on making Bitmoji obsolete, we hope to pave the way as a new breed of media company.
Venture capital firms and investors also believe in the cause of Genies Inc. and is backed by those such as News Enterprise Associates (NEA), Foundation Capital, Box Group, Great Oaks, Lerer Ventures and Trinity Ventures. Rick Yang from NEA has been a partner of Genies since its early days of Blend Systems and has seen it evolve into an impressive media platform. Commenting on its potential, Yang told The Scope Weekly:
NEA has partnered with Akash, Evan, and Matt since their early days when they were building what used to be Blend Systems, and we’ve been impressed with the evolution to what is now, Genies, Inc.
“We are fortunate to partner with entrepreneurs with the confidence and competitive drive that the Genies team has, empowering them to innovate within saturated markets of both social and traditional media. Disrupting the big players within these markets can be intimidating, however, Genies utilizes a unique approach that incorporates AI integration into social media and news sharing. We are thrilled to continue the journey with the team as they pioneer a new dimension of social media.”
Kaitlyn Powell of CAA Ventures believes in the mission of Genies and said to The Scope Weekly:
Akash is a forward-thinking entrepreneur, who has pioneered fresh approaches to engage millennial audiences. Genies introduces an exciting new way for people to consume media and entertainment with a creative, customizable twist.
This new approach to receiving valuable information is just what we need and indicates the breaking free from traditional news media. Rather than spectating from the sidelines, Genies Inc. allows its users to become part of the news.
Their AI platform appeals to millennials who desire to become personally involved with news media while being entertained at the same time. So let’s say you invest in Bitcoin and receive record-breaking news regarding its value, your “clone-moji” will pop up dancing wearing a Bitcoin hat as it celebrates the upward trend. Or imagine that you’re a Starbucks fanatic and the trending #ChristmasTreeFrappunccino will show your animated self-enjoying the seasonal Starbucks beverage in a cafe setting. The options are virtually limitless, and you can even include friends by interacting with your clone colleagues in real time.
The humorous app could boost the overall viewing of news by making it that much more attractive. The complexity required to pull this app off is worth the convenient simplicity provided to its users and could very well put the new into modern news media.
We want to know what you think about Genies. Do you think it will make bitmoji obsolete? If so, how would you customize your clone?
Remember to subscribe to our newsletter!