Lascaux, Funded by Betaworks, Launches Social Art App Mixel for iPad

There are plenty of art and photo-sharing websites and apps on the market, but New York startup Lascaux Co. believes its free app Mixel offers a fresh angle by letting users share images to create collages. The company was co-founded by Khoi Vinh, former digital design director with The New York Times, and Scott Ostler, co-founder of image chat community The Mixel app, released in November on the iPad, lets users edit and combine images by using the tablet’s touch features.

Vinh says Mixel is a way for the average person to turn their photos into art. After pictures are posted with the app the images can be borrowed—in whole or in part—by other users. Mixel is the first app released by Lascaux, which raised $600,000 in seed funding this month from Betaworks, Polaris Venture Partners, and Allen & Company. Vinh also put a $100,000 TechFellow award he received last December from Founders Fund and New Enterprise Associates toward founding the startup.

Lascaux currently operates out of Dogpatch Labs in New York and is named for the site of cave paintings in Lascaux, France. Currently Vinh and Ostler are the only cave artists in the startup, though they plan to hire up to four others over the next six months. “We’ve been able to do a lot with a little and I love the model of staying very lean,” Vinh says.

Mixel is geared to appeal to laymen, says Vinh, who in the past loved to doodle and create photo books to share with others. In addition to cropping, reshaping, and mashing images together, Mixel users can follow each other’s work based on the collages they are interested in.

Vinh says while there are other art apps on the market, he believes many users do not work with them regularly. “They play with them a little while and then forget about them unless the user is confident in their … Next Page »

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