What started as an app for sports fans is now helping small businesses create visual marketing content for social media.

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What:Ripl, an app that helps users and small businesses easily create animated visual marketing content for social media.

 

Who: Paul Ingalls, CEO.

 

What it does: The Ripl app is designed to assist small businesses with their marketing by helping them create animated posts for social media that capture attention. For example, Redeeming Soles has made posts using the app promoting a donation at the Rock ’n’ Roll Seattle Marathon and has reported a 250 percent improvement in engagement since using the Ripl app.

 

Evolving from gray:To a certain degree, the app is the product of the Ripl team’s original effort with the Fanzo app, aimed at sports fans. Fanzo expanded into an app for social-media users. Ingalls said the original app existed in a gray area — “it was good but never great,” he said. But one aspect of the app, visual-content creation, resonated with a group of small-business owners, so the company narrowed its focus.

 

Three easy steps: The Ripl app works in three easy steps. First, create a post then add text and images. Second, pick from a series of customizable templates. Third, write a caption and pick the networks on which to share the post. On the back end Ripl tracks post engagement.

 

Funding: Last week, Ripl raised $1.85 million from Trilogy Equity Partners and angel investors, bringing the total the company has raised over its four years — including its time as Fanzo — to $4.2 million.

 

Lean and mean: Ripl has 10 employees and plans to hire a few more. However, Ingalls said the team will probably remain small because “this day and age you don’t need a lot because the tools are so good.” He has found that a small team is also more efficient and helps keep the company’s burn rate low.

 

Two versions: Ripl follows a freemium model with two versions. The free version has six templates and is marked with the Ripl logo. For $9.99 a month, users can upgrade to the pro version, which removes the Ripl logo and allows access to 60 templates, with more to be added.

 

Coming up: Ingalls said Ripl’s month-over-month growth rate is 100 percent, and the company hopes to improve the app by increasing photo capacity, incorporating personal music and further helping small businesses with their marketing.

 

— Charles Clark