Back in July when Betabeat talked to design guru Khoi Vinh, the former design director for the NYTimes.com, Mr. Vinh criticized publishing companies whose approach to the brave new world of the tablet was limited to replicating a magazine experience within an app. Building an app, he said, only makes sense when there’s real utility: “I would build social features and sharing that really resonate with people.”
Well, Mr. Vinh’s stealth project made its debut in the App Store today and it appears he’s done just that. Mixel is a free collage-making app aimed at democratizing making art the same way smartphones with cameras and apps like Instagram and Picctu have turned us into a nation of photographers.
This summer, Mr. Vinh and his co-founder Scott Ostler of Dump.fm, picked up $600,000 in funding for their startup, called Lascaux, from betaworks and Polaris Ventures. Since March, they’ve been working out of Dogpatch Labs in Union Square. We stopped by Dogpatch last week to talk to Mr. Vinh about why he felt compelled to venture into Startupland, how Mixel is avoiding IP issues, and how he plans on mainstreaming art-making into a new category of activity.