Get to know a Toronto startup: Flixel

Many of us have Instagram to thank for making us, the iPhone wielding masses, into half-decent photographers. With photo sharing and editing apps made available at our fingertips, suddenly any old smartphone photo can become an Earlybird-filtered, profile pic-worthy masterpiece.

Toronto startup Flixel has its sights set on being the next big photo editing and sharing app. Flixel takes our micro-Photoshopping addiction to the next level by creating "living photos." With this free app, static photos become animated memories with the swipe of a finger over a single area of your photo; imagine making the candle on your best friend's birthday cake flicker, or adding the rustling of leaves on a tree in your Trinity Bellwoods Sunday picnic photo.

The app is available for free on the App Store and plans to remain free for users, with plans to monetize the platform through ad revenue in the near future. With 100,000 users already and a recent refresh making the app more intuitive than ever, Flixel's future looks promising against competitors like Cinemagra.am, Echograph and Kinotopic.

Flixel's Co-Founder and CEO, Philippe LeBlanc, recently filled me in on the Flixel story.

Photo sharing apps have solidified their importance in the social media world. Why do you think people like to share photos so much?

A photo can exude an emotional response that is otherwise limited by words. When we share a photo, we give people a glimpse into our reality - it's part of our fundamental desire to share our lives and connect with others. A photo is rich with information. A "living photo" is even richer since it focuses on a key element of motion, creating a story within a story.

What was the main source of inspiration for Flixel - I mean, what's so special about an animated photo?

We were very much inspired by the mysteriously beautiful qualities of Cinemagraphs pioneered by the fashion photography duo of Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. There's something magical about a still photograph combined with a hint of motion. It exudes a quirkiness and, at times, a haunting quality that mesmerizes the viewer.

Who do you see as the typical Flixel user?

Anyone who has a penchant for mobile photography and art. Anyone wanting to express themselves and unleash their inner artist. Anyone with an imagination and passion for film and photography. And anyone who wants to do a little more than simply add a filter to their photo!

Where do you see Flixel one year from now?

Our vision is to make Flixel a premiere destination for creating, sharing and discovering beautiful "living photos". We believe that this new category of "mobile art" is in its infancy and our community has already created such stunning art since its inception. We're very excited about the future.

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