Announcing – A Hosted User Avatar Service for your Apps and Sites

When we launched Chute, we were overwhelmed by the number of developers who were looking to implement their own custom avatars on our service. After researching solutions for this problem, it was clear that a lot of time was being spent solving this problem over and over again. We decided to build to help apps and sites get avatars off of their plate as quickly as possible.

Every app needs avatars and we make that hassle-free. Before, developers had to either design their own upload process or rely on profile photos from social sites (which were always changing and constantly breaking). makes uploads a cinch and keeps profile photos in sync without any additional work for the developer. provides developers with components for iOS, Android and Javascript (no server needed). In a couple of minutes, anyone can be accepting custom or social avatars. supports custom uploads, social avatars from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, as well as support for Gravatar, an email-based avatar service. Displaying is even easier, it just requires a specially formatted URL.

Since doing a small developer preview 3 weeks ago, we’ve seen great adoption already. has served more than 5 million avatars already, with an additional 300k served daily. More than 200 developers, mostly mobile, have signed up and starting using the service already and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

A Few Twitter Mentions:

Web MentionsDailyJS, Programmable Web, Dougal Campbell’s geek ramblings, Functionn

Check it out! –

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Y-Combinator Backed Chute Lands New Funding from Freestyle Capital, Battery Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners and Strategic Angels

We’re excited to announce the close of a new round of funding for Chute!   The round was lead by Freestyle Capital, with participation from Battery Ventures, USVP and strategic investors including, Joe Fernandez, Binh Tran, and Joshua Reeves among others.

Find the official press release below:


San Francisco, CA; July 24, 2012 – Chute, the Y Combinator backed company that
helps apps and sites capture, manage and display media files, today announced it has
secured a new round of early stage venture funding. Freestyle Capital (who led), Battery
Ventures, USVP and a handful of strategic investors including, Joe
Fernandez and Binh Tran (the CEO and CTO of Klout), and Joshua Reeves (CEO of
Zen Payroll) contributed to the round.

Chute makes it easy for content producers and app developers to add photo functionality to their apps or sites by simply embedding a few lines of code. Chute’s technology gives developers and online publishers a cloud-based backend for image uploading, processing, moderation, third-party API integrations and user authentication.

“The best brands and publishers in the industry are bringing user generated media alive
and displaying it on their site, on their Facebook pages, in their mobile apps, or at live
events; anywhere their content lives,” said Ranvir Gujral, Co-Founder of Chute. “Chute
lets them do this. With Chute, publishers, brands, and application developers no longer
have to re-invent the wheel every time they want to build functionality to capture user
generated media like photos. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, believe it will be an
exciting ride and feel great about the investors we have alongside us.”

While still currently in beta, Chute has seen incredible customer growth and engagement since its inception in 2011, including a number of new customer use cases at publishers like and Lucky Magazine, big brands like Taylormade and Havaianas, and live entertainment companies like House of Blues Entertainment and L.A. Live. Given Chute’s cloud based platform is of particular interest to large publishers and media companies, the company was accepted into Turner Broadcasting’s new accelerator, Media Camp, a selective program for digital media startups.

“Chute has taken the time to understand and address the strategy for
social sharing,” said Jen Brown, General Manager. “The Chute user
experience integrates beautifully with our editorial product, making for a seamless user
experience and maximizing engagement.”

“As a founder of two successful digital media companies, I got the explosive potential
of Chute in the first meeting,” said Josh Felser, Freestyle Capital Co-Founder. “There is no better way for publishers and brands to add images and related virality to their online experiences and the Chute team knows this space intimately.”

Mikey Kilun, Senior Manager, Social Media for House of Blues Entertainment
adds, “Chute provided a dynamic branded UGC experience that we leveraged across
a few of our key social media and web assets. These hash-tag driven content feeds
tend to be highly viral and helped to drive brand awareness and fan engagement for our
venues and events.”

The company will apply the new funds to hiring and investing in sales and marketing.

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Missing #TheOpen?

Golf fans will be glued to the action as Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England plays host to this year’s Open Championship for the first time since 2001. You can check out the live action and all the fan photos here!

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Distributed teams? Chute co-founder discusses at International Startup Festival

Our co-founder Gregarious Narain spoke at the International Startup Festival in Montreal this week.  His presentation on distributed teams is embedded below.   Check it out!

Learn more here and read about the Festival.    See what you missed in the photo gallery below:

See more photos

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Developer libraries: Round 2

He does it again! More libraries from Vadim Demedes. Enjoy!


Route66 was created with the release of latest Connect middleware, when connect.router was removed. Basically, it is a simple router with the same methods you are already used to. But it has a little bit more. Route66 offers support for PATCH and OPTIONS HTTP methods, auto-sorting of routes, analyzing and fixing the order of route rules to avoid collisions and errors. It is being used by many people and the results are amazing.


Mailman is a little ActiveMailer for Node.js apps. It is based on Nodemailer, so the support for SMTP, AWS SES and sendmail is inside. You just define CoffeeScripts classes/models and feed Mailman with them. Mailman allows you to send both static and “dynamic” emails. By saying dynamic, I mean that their content can change. So with the help of Templato (my other creation) it compiles and renders eco, ejs, jade and mustache templates right into your emails. Working with emails has never been easier in Node.js.


Magician is a Node.js module, which provides simple API to most common tasks you do every day with images. Resizing, cropping, converting and getting info about them. It depends on ImageMagick, so it has to be installed. Tests for each method are available.

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Zac Brown Band, #ZacBrownTODAY

Zac Brown Band is performing live at the Rock in NYC as part of the Toyota Summer Concert Series. Check out the stream of photos right here.

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Some fun developer libraries…

We wanted to share some fun libraries our rockstar developer Vadim Demedes has worked on in the last couple months. We hope you’ll find them interesting and wonder how he has so much free time!?


Joconut is a replacement to the famous PJAX jQuery plugin. It is lightweight (1.3kb minified and gzipped), does not require any configuration (you can configure it, of course, if you want to) and has more features. Joconut ships with a history manipulation library, that was specifically built for that project, which supports HTML5 History API with fallback to location.hash. Joconut auto-detects and loads only those scripts and stylesheets, that were not loaded previously. It can also replace only specific part of your pages’ content and emit different events for customization and debugging.


Jewel is a super-lightweight (2.3kb minified and gzipped) jQuery plugin, that allows you to manipulate with DOM elements via ORM-like models. It has no dependencies (except of jQuery), allows you to use any template engine you want, setup custom validation and provides CRUD methods for DOM elements. Jewel can be used by both JavaScript and CoffeeScript(definition via class) developers.


Thumbbot is a Node.js module, which creates thumbnails from images, video, audio and web pages. Yep, you heard it. It depends on PhantomJS (web page snapshots), ImageMagick (image thumbnails) and ffmpeg (video snapshots). You don’t have to use different interfaces to manipulate all those kinds of files. There is one API for images, videos, audio and web pages.


Templato provides one interface to a variety of template engines for Node.js and scripts that run in browser. Moreover, you don’t have to switch between APIs for Node.js and browsers, one API on both sides. Available engines include: ejs, eco, jade and mustache. Comprehensive tests are available, again, for Node.js and browser.

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Flo Rida, #Only1FloTODAY

Flo Rida turned in an electrifying performance at the plaza as part of the annual Toyota Summer Concert Series on NBC’s TODAY. Check out the stream of fan photos right here.

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