Israeli startup AniBOOM has raised $4.5 million for its emerging online animation community, which it hopes to turn into a distributed animation studio.
The company has a number of interesting projects in the works, including a just-concluded contest that attracted 2,000 animators from 72 countries and awarded $50,000 in prizes. The submissions have so far attracted 2.5 million views. The winner, below:
AniBOOM, led by longtime Israeli television exec Uri Shinar, has developed ties to the animation elite, bringing in such judges as an animator from The Yellow Submarine, a former Universal, Turner Pictures, and Warner Bros. animation feature exec, and a Sesame Street producer.
“Animation has a very unique positioning or situation where it really is a language,” Shinar said in a phone conversation today. “The Manga phenomenon, it’s huge—but if you look at video in French or Russian, no one really cares.”
Currently, AniBOOM’s site is primarily an online video aggregator for animated films, with tools for uploads and revenue sharing and contests to inspire participation.
The most recently launched contest is called AniBOOM Eyedoll, a spoof of American Idol that offers animators 26 parody songs to create videos about — for instance, “I’ve Had Enough Of My Wife,” a parody of “I Had The Time Of My Life” from Dirty Dancing, and “She Really Likes the Polka,” a parody of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”
AniBOOM is also looking to get more deeply involved in what goes on before an animation is posted to its site. It is introducing some web-based animation tools, for instance a piece of shape-shifting machining software meant to make animating simple for newbies.
“You don’t need 1,000 animators in Burbank to have a studio,” said Shinar. “Our vision is we can create the next South Park, if you like, from animators around the world.”
As mentioned above, AniBOOM recently closed its first funding round of $4.5 million, which was provided by Israeli venture capital firm Evergreen. The company has 18 employees and was in development most of last year before launching in September.