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Innovation & Job News

Toronto startup Flixel partners with Facebook

When a Canadian startup joins forces with Facebook, you know they’re onto something. Toronto-based company Flixel has recently been selected as one of six beta testers to launch Facebook’s new platform, the Profile Expression Kit.

Profile Expression Kit was one of a number of new features revealed by the tech giant during their F8 Developer’s Conference Last week. The Profile Expression Kit is one of several new additions to the Facebook app that allows users to upload a video profile picture without leaving the app, rather than just a static image.

Flixel is a Toronto-based company, founded by Philippe LeBlanc in 2011 after he found himself mesmerized by the world’s first cinemagraph; a static image with one moving component. Since then, LeBlanc has built a company that’s worked with brands such as Apple and Nike to enhance their marketing strategy.

Since their launch, the company has gone on to become a recognized innovator in the marketing space. More so, the team at Flixel believes that cinemagraphs are on their way to becoming a recognized medium. Facebook’s support, says LeBlanc, is just another step in the right direction.
“Profile images are the second most viewed part of Facebook, next to the news feed. They really do see video as the best way to communicate,” said LeBlanc.

He goes on to say that cinemagraphs are the perfect cross between an image and a video, making them perfect for Facebook’s Profile Expression Kit.

However, this is not Flixel’s first brush with the social media maven. In November of 2015, Facebook announced that, for the first time, it would announce video profile pictures. Realizing that this feature could work with cinemagraphs, the team at Flixel didn’t hesitate.

“We did a blog post showing how you could use our tools and upload it to Facebook, and we thought, it would be great if the product team at Menlo Park knew about this,” said LeBlanc.
After months of creating ads that specifically targeted Facebook, Flixel got their attention.

“They reached out to us and said they were working with a select group of beta partners,” continued LeBlanc.

Though Facebook launched the Profile Expression Kit last week with six beta testers, they are accepting applications for new platforms to integrate with the program. LeBlanc says he’s glad to have gotten in first though.

Though Flixel has had to make a few alterations inside their app to make this possible, the biggest change they’ve made is allowing users to create a cinemagraph using their platform, without leaving the Profile Expression Kit.

In LeBlanc’s opinion, it’s just a matter of time before the world realizes how valuable cinemagraph’s can be.

“We see cinemagraphs as the ideal end use for Facebook and Instagram.”
To make the announcement even more satisfying, LeBlanc says that the early adopters of cinemagraphs as a new medium are over the moon.

“They’re super excited because as an early adopter, they believed in the medium. A lot of these creators are now getting hired by brands to do cinemagraphs for them.”

Flixel started its life trying to be a social network, and eventually turned to professionals looking to develop the medium to help the startup grow. It only seems fitting that the next step in Flixel’s journey is to pick up where they left off.

LeBlanc says he’s looking forward to what the future holds for cinemagraphs, and now it’s clear that Flixel will lead the way.

“It fits the use case and it fits our story.”

Source: Philippe LeBlanc
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