April 09, 2015 07:00 ET

Mobile Video Communication Startup Joya Raises $5M in VC Funding Led by Battery Ventures

New Apps FlipLip and Cleo Debut With Facebook Messenger; Company Launches

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 9, 2015) - Joya, mobile video communications company responsible for FlipLip and Cleo, today announced Series A financing of $5 million, led by Battery Ventures and Altos Ventures. After operating in stealth for more than a year, the company is publicly launching after its new apps FlipLip and Cleo were featured in the Facebook Messenger announcement last week.

Founded by the husband and wife team of Michal and Vlada Bortnik in 2012, Joya is focused on helping people remain connected in convenient and meaningful ways. As parents of two young children with relatives living abroad, the two felt they could develop technology to improve on existing, static mobile-messaging apps and current video offerings that focus on deliberate and scheduled interactions, which often make the communication seem forced or cumbersome.

"Our own experiences with current apps and services led us to believe there was a better way to stay connected with people that's both more personal and fun," said Michal Bortnik, CEO of Joya. "We are focused on creating new ways for people to interact and we are excited to develop new products that make staying in touch more spontaneous and experiential."

The company's seasoned engineering team has been operating in stealth, building innovative video communication technologies. Recently, Joya was part of StartX, the prestigious Stanford-affiliated accelerator program. Joya is using the funding to continue developing the next generation of video communications to make it more convenient for daily life.

Joya was the only developer to have two apps featured in the recent Facebook Messenger launch, and those brand-new apps -- FlipLip and Cleo -- have received accolades from users, including FlipLip's 5-star rating in the App Store. App users on iOS and Android can share their creations directly within Facebook Messenger or save to their Camera Roll. (Android users can also share directly on Facebook and Instagram.) Each app focuses on bringing light-hearted entertainment to the messaging platform:

  • With FlipLip's array of voices and overlays, users can create fun, lighthearted video clips to amuse their friends. While stickers and emoji are cute, FlipLip is designed to bring laughter into messaging.
  • Cleo allows anyone to record with fun, live filters in their video, without ever having to leave Facebook Messenger. With Cleo's array of live filters, users can create stunning video selfies for the special moments where regular text message just won't do. Cleo is designed to make you look and feel awesome.

The founders' previous app, Joya Video, was also created to enhance the personal connections we have with people using video, and FlipLip and Cleo are an extension of the company's overall focus.

"Michal and Vlada are extremely talented, and their company and latest apps truly encompass their vision for a more rich and fun way to communicate with people, whether they are next door or across the world," said Roger Lee, general partner, Battery Ventures. "We look forward to seeing how people adopt and use their apps in daily life."

FlipLip and Cleo are available for download in the App Store and Google Play.

About Joya
Founded by husband-and-wife team Michal and Vlada Bortnik in 2012, Joya is focused on helping people remain connected in convenient, meaningful and fun ways. The company's first app, Joya Video, was one of TIME Magazine's Top 50 Apps for 2013. The two latest apps, Cleo and FlipLip, were selected to be a part of Facebook's new Messenger launch in March 2015. The company is backed by Battery Ventures and Altos Ventures.