Appleton animation startup in New Orleans for tech conference

An early-stage animation startup called dodles is in New Orleans for a major tech conference this week, as company leaders strive to connect with investors and potential partners.

The Appleton-based business is developing a platform where content creators can create, share, license and sell illustrations in an online marketplace. According to CEO Craig Doriot, this makes it easier for artists to make themselves known without needing publishers and advertising studios.

Doriot and the rest of the team are at the Collision conference, which had over 25,000 attendees including speakers from some of the biggest names in tech.

Aside from private meetings arranged in advance, dodles is exhibiting on the beta track, which is reserved for relatively advanced companies.

“That’s more exclusive than the general exhibitors,” Doriot told “That gives us some leverage with investors, a little more attention.”

The company recently ran a closed beta which wrapped up in March.

“We’ve had some good results,” he said, adding that the process helped identify new areas of expansion, like educational elements.

He said the last few months have been spent rebuilding part of the core engine after identifying some bugs. Now at the end of that process, Doriot says the dodles team is looking ahead to the full release of the creative platform.

At this point, he says there are two possible avenues for the company to go down, and the question of which one to take is “somewhat of an internal debate.”

Dodles could release a standalone version of the platform as early as the end of June, Doriot says, but that might not be the best option if a partnership with one of the major social media platforms could be established.

In that case, he says the team’s developers would need several extra months to integrate dodles before launching it as part of that platform.

“That doesn’t mean we would be exclusive to that platform, but there could be a period of exclusivity,” he said.

Dodles recently raised $300,000 between February and April of this year, bringing the company’s total investment so far to $2.6 million. The company launched its beta version of the app in December 2017, and currently has a social audience of 300,000 people.

See an earlier story on dodles:

–By Alex Moe