Gizmoz, a digital avatar service with offices in Menlo Park, Calif., and Herzliya, Israel, makes its commercial bow this week with $6.3 million in venture capital funding, and deals with a number of recording artists including Kelly Clarkson and 50 Cent.

Users of Gizmoz software creates animated, talking avatars with lifelike heads and bodies that are able to deliver personalized, lip-synched messages.

They can fashion avatars in their own likeness by uploading pictures of themselves, or create custom characters using images supplied by Gizmoz. Users can also can record and upload audio files that are paired with the avatars, which will lip-synch along with the words. The avatars can also be included in video clips. Gizmoz avatars and a variety of widgets can be embedded in MySpace pages, blogs, and personal Web sites.

As part of its launch, Gizmoz has inked pacts with Clarkson, 50 Cent, Kelly Rowland, Lil Mama and Scott Ian to use their likeness and voice in a widget called an "answering machine," in which the artist leaves an audio message for the visitors to their MySpace pages and visitors with Gizmoz profiles can leave audio messages for the artist using a text-to-voice technology. Visitors can scroll through and listen to the messages other people who have left for the artist.

The pacts are with the artists directly and not the label. They do not cover recorded music use. However Eyal Gever, founder and CEO of Gizmoz, says the company is looking to partner with the labels on music licenses.

Benchmark Capital and Columbia Capital are supplying the company with Series A venture capital funding.

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