Tech can get a little bizarre at times as new companies try to push the envelope of what could grab people's attention. That brings us to Genies, a new startup that has raised $15 million in funding to create an app where your avatar and others can celebrate events and holidays or even recreate news of the day.
The app - similar to Bitmoji, but with a bit more realistic flair - allows users to create an avatar of themselves with a fairly large array of customization options. You will also choose your personality type, which will allow the app to better determine what news or events it should filter your way throughout the day. It also will send you customized holiday ones that can get a bit odd, like the one at right for Christmas that touts "HBD Jesus"
“If god forbid Donald Trump bombs North Korea, you’ll see your Genie riding a nuke to North Korea” Genies CEO Akash Nigam told TechCrunch, adding that the company's goal is to be like BuzzFeed. "Your Genie is the star of the show. The script is whatever happens in the world that day.”
And yes, they can get a bit irreverent. For every story of Elon Musk wanting to launch you on a rocket to Mars, you will also get these, as seen by TechCrunch:
Over a few days of testing, I saw ones advocating for beer bonging, pot brownies, study drugs like Adderall, and pouring crappy vodka into Grey Goose bottles to save money. Nigam defended the content saying these were “party oriented” for a “young demo where they share and learn through the lens of pop culture”. Others like “Wanted: Holiday Bang Buddy” might be too lewd even for college kids. And one even parodied the important NFL protests of racism and police brutality featured students “taking a knee” to get out of a pop quiz. That should never have made it past the human editors.
The company, which already has a valuation of more than $100 million, had been teasing the launch of the app for a few months, offering to create early avatars for people. It was so popular that more than 689,000 avatars were created, with another 680,000 people on the waitlist.
"People love seeing themselves in the news," Nigam told Mashable. "The script is whatever happens in the world that day, but your Genie is the star of the show."
In addition to your own avatar, you can also customize scenes with avatars of your friends, or certain celebrities, such as Donald Trump, Zach Efron, Kylie Jenner, Emma Watson, or Santa Claus.