Whatifi, the company providing a new way to watch movies on your phone with friends, today launched with $10 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Matrix Partners. Whatifi is also backed by leaders in entertainment and technology, including David Wells (ex-CFO of Netflix), Ilkka Paananen (Supercell), Max Levchin (Paypal, Affirm), Marc Pincus (Zynga), Michael Birch (Bebo), Taavet Hinrikus (Transferwise), Josh Hannah (Betfair), and Jon McNeill (Tesla, Lyft).
Whatifi unlocks the ability to discuss, debate and decide what happens next in the movies you watch with friends and family, offering dozens of plotlines, character arcs, and endings. Each Whatifi film is broken down into short segments. At key turning points, the watch party is presented with a dilemma and has to make a decision. If the group doesn’t vote unanimously, they can jump into the built-in chat feature to discuss. Choice matters, as every decision completely changes the outcome of the story — nothing is inconsequential.
The two films at launch (“Anatomy of a Decision” and “As Dead as it Gets”) offer a combined 80 different endings and storylines to explore. More films and other content will be continuously released starting later this year.
“Whatifi fuses the lean-back and isolated experience of traditional streaming with the interactivity of gaming, and immerses it in social interaction,” said Jaanus Juss, co-founder of Whatifi. “It’s a new entertainment category that defines how the next generation will entertain themselves. For the first time, you and your friends are in the director’s chair, debating and calling the shots together.”
Whatifi was born out of co-founders Jaanus Juss and Hardi Meybaum’s love for interactive theater they’d been involved with. They took what had been perfected on the stage and brought it to mobile. The main takeaway: people find far more fun and meaning in a story when they have a role in steering, engaging and debating it with others. The shared-group storytelling experience translated perfectly to smartphones.
Whatifi’s format also opens new frontiers for filmmakers who can now create dynamic narratives that traditional story formats do not permit.
The company also announced the launch of Whatifi Studios, its branching-story development and production platform. Whatifi Studios launches with a script contest aimed at both screenwriters and writer-directors. The contest will have a prize pool and aims to have five movies written, funded and released on Whatifi in 120 days.
Whatifi is available for download for iOS. To learn more about Whatifi, please visit www.whatifi.com.