Dubsmash app
Courtesy of Dubsmash

Star Power Is Fueling the Buzz Around Dubsmash

May 17, 2016

As former Disney star and pop singing sensation Selena Gomez sat on a couch on Jimmy Fallon's “The Tonight Show,” the two took turns facing an iPad while mouthing the words to words to Gomez's hit “Same Old Love.” A few second later, the show's audience cheered as it watched the video the pair had just recorded on the iPad.

Gomez and Fallon were playing with the Dubsmash mobile app during the singer's visit to the show in October. At the time Dubsmash, which lets users record themselves as they lip sync to a short excerpt of a popular song, commercial, or movie, was barely a year old.

“I think it points to the fact is that what Dubsmash is working on has hit a nerve with all kinds of people,” Index Ventures partner Danny Rimer, whose fund invested in Dubsmash, told Fortune in an interview about the app's appearance on Fallon's show. In fact, Dubsmash's team didn't even know the app was going to be used on the show, according to Rimer.

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With that said, it shouldn't be surprising that Dubsmash has caught the attention of the entertainment industry. Several celebrities, including singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, singer Justin Bieber, and actor Ben Stiller, have recorded and shared Dubsmash videos.

The entertainment industry is also how Dubsmash has already started to make money, though it doesn't disclose its revenue. So far, entertainment studios, music partners, and TV channels have paid for more than 100 campaigns through Dubsmash to promote new movies, shows, and music, co-founder and CEO Jonas Drüppel told Fortune via email. Last year, for example, singer Rihanna debuted her new single “Bitch Better Have My Money” on Dubsmash in the form of two short clips of the song.

“Dubsmash puts content at the center of every conversation, which aligns very well with the objectives and strategies of many of these companies,” said Drüppel, who co-founded the startup in 2014 with Roland Grenke and Daniel Taschik.

On Tuesday, Dubmash introduced a new messaging feature that lets users send their videos to other users inside the app to make it easier to share with friends, along with other features like a new search function. The startup decided to add the new features after it noticed that users often share the videos with their friends through social networks like Twitter and Instagram.

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So is Dubsmash the next Snapchat? Or will it fade away as so many other apps have in the past?

That's still too early to call, says Rimer. He does point out that Dubsmash's popularity in the app stores was one reason his firm invested last summer as part of the startup's $5.5 million round. Dubsmash doesn't share details about downloads of its mobile apps, but according to mobile analytics company Sensor Tower, it has garnered a total of about 111 million iOS and Android downloads since its debut in November 2014. Currently it's ranked number 15 in the U.S. iOS App Store in the entertainment category, and No. 8 in the U.S. Google Play store in the media and video category, according to Sensor Tower.

With that said, social apps like Dubsmash are equally judged on how often users come back to the app and how much content they produce. Currently, the startup says that 35 videos are created every second and more than half of its users record a video when they open the app. For context, about 65% of Snapchat's 100 million daily active users send a photo or video every day.

Dubsmash also already faces competition from other apps like Musically, which similarly lets users record videos of themselves lip syncing and has also been growing in popularity.

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