12/19/2013 06:26 EST | Updated 02/18/2014 05:59 EST

Toronto's Bitstrips making a name for itself

A Toronto company has come up with an online application which allows users to create personalized cartoons and is already being used by millions of people around the world.

The free-to-use application is called Bitstrips and it lets a person create a cartoon version of themselves, or their friends.

Those comic strip-like images can then be used to send messages to others in a splashy way, like the politician in France who used the application to announce her candidacy for mayor.

Users can also use those images to illustrate their status updates, or to send a holiday greeting to friends and family.

Bitstrips has been set up so that users can share their work with others on Facebook, Twitter and other social-media services, as well as through email.

Jacob Blackstock, the company’s chief executive officer and creative director, said Bitstrips is something that people around the world are picking up.

"There [are] people in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, North America, Australia, all taking the same comics and turning them into their own personal creations," he said.

Bitstrips has grown from a company with a handful of employees to one that is approaching a staff of 20.

It has also attracted attention from the Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures, which last week invested $3 million in the company.

The Horizons Ventures website lists more than four dozen companies it has invested in, with Bitstrips among four listed Canadian-based investments.