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From Viral Sensation to Integration: The Rise and Fall of Flipagram

The Rise and Fall of Flipagram

Remember Flipagram? It was an app that allowed users to create short videos from photos on their phone with music and filters.

It gained popularity in the early 2010s and was even integrated with Instagram at one point. However, the app’s growth and eventual decline may surprise some users.

Flipagram’s Features and Functionality

Flipagram’s core features were basic: users could select photos from their phone, add music, filters, and hashtags, and post their creation on the app. Initially, the app focused only on photo-based content, with music added as an afterthought.

However, its simplicity and ease of use made it popular among younger users. Flipagram’s Founding and Early Success

Flipagram was founded in 2012 by Farhad Mohit, Rollie Bush, and Brian Dilley.

The app quickly gained popularity, and it wasn’t long before venture capitalists began to invest in the company. Flipagram ultimately raised $70 million in Series B funding with investors such as Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Index Ventures.

Flipagram’s Acquisition by Cheerful

In 2017, Flipagram was acquired by Cheerful Inc, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in AR and VR experiences. The acquisition was seen as a move to leverage Flipagram’s user base and virality within Cheerful’s broader network.

Unfortunately, Cheerful’s plans to monetize the app fell short, and the app’s popularity began to decline. Flipagram’s Stalling Growth and Acquisition

Despite Flipagram’s early success, growth eventually stalled, and the company was forced to lay off about 20% of its workforce in 2018.

Flipagram made attempts to reverse its fortunes, including partnerships with brands such as Coca-Cola and Disney. Ultimately, the company could not recover, and it was acquired by China’s TikTok-parent, Toutiao.

Flipagram’s Acquisition by ByteDance

Toutiao parent company, ByteDance, acquired Flipagram and its technology in late 2018, along with long-form video app, ByteDance integrated Flipagram’s music rights into its apps, including Douyin and TikTok, which allowed users to lip-sync to popular songs.

Employees from Flipagram also moved to ByteDance offices to assist with the integration.

The Common Practice of Acquiring Startups and Their Technology

Acquiring start-ups for their technology and talent is common practice in the tech industry. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have all made acquisitions for the same reasons.

In some cases, companies purchase start-ups to reduce competition, while in others, they seek to gain technology to integrate into their own products. Such acquisitions can often result in the end of the acquired app’s existence, as the technology is integrated into the buyer’s app and used as part of a new feature or product.


Flipagram’s rise and fall can be attributed to its simple features, early success, failed monetization efforts, and ultimate acquisition by ByteDance. Its acquisition was a common practice in the tech industry and resulted in the integration of Flipagram’s technology into ByteDance’s apps.

While Flipagram may be a mere memory for those who used it, its impact on the social media industry continues to be felt to this day. In conclusion, the rise and fall of Flipagram highlights the common practice of acquiring startups for their technology and talent in the tech industry.

The app’s success and eventual decline can be attributed to its simple features, failed monetization efforts, and acquisition by ByteDance. The integration of Flipagram’s music rights and lip-syncing technology into ByteDance’s apps continues to impact the social media industry today.

This article emphasizes the importance of tracking the trajectories of social media platforms and the impact of acquisitions on the industry.

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