So I guess people really do video chat? Something about the whole video call/chat thing always gives me the heebee-jeebees. Maybe it’s the whole thing about sitting in front of your webcam and staring at someone while they stare back at you. And you have to make conversation to keep it from getting weird.
But there’s a new video chat app in town. Rabbit, created by gaming pioneers, lets users multitask while chatting and sharing content, and the company announced Thursday that it has raised $3.3 million in a seed round from Google Ventures, CrunchFund, and Bebo founder Michael Birch, in addition to existing angel investors.
Launched in private beta earlier this month, Rabbit allows users to go beyond the basic face-to-face video chat to make the chat a more organic, hangout-like experience. To that end, users can chat while watching and sharing videos, listening to music, and more. Users can customize their own rooms, join existing rooms, meet up with offline friends, and make new online friends.
And unlike other video chat platforms, you can chat with an unlimited number of people.
The biggest things we see right now are people using it to connect with friends and to share videos, watching everything from shortform videos to TV shows together,” said co-founder Stephanie Morgan.
Morgan says that Rabbit just released an update to the app that makes it even easier to connect with friends by focusing the experience more tightly around private rooms.
“We know from research that the most avid users of video chat are typically in their late teens to early twenties. And, like everyone these days, they’re juggling a million different things all at once at any given time,” said Morgan. “Being able to instantly share anything they want (be it a video, photo, syllabus, etc) while simultaneously being able to use other apps, browse the web, and all the while continue their current video chat conversation is not just cool… It’s mission-critical. And, it’s something that no app other than Rabbit fully supports right now.”
Rabbit is currently available in private beta for Mac OS X, but it will be rolling out to more platforms in the coming months.
“Rabbit’s design and user experience is unlike anything I’ve seen,” said Kevin Rose, General Partner Google Ventures, in a statement. “Video chatting is always designed for utility, but Rabbit has created an online social experience that is closer to hanging out with your friends in real life. I can’t wait for the world to see it.”
The company says it plans to use the funds from this round to invest in Rabbit’s technology and launch it out of private beta.