Rodrigo Sepulveda Schulz, a fellow blogger and broadband fanatic, is either a very brave man or has a plan. He has started vPod.tv, a new online video company based in France, along with his cofounder Ivan Communod. After bootstrapping it for nearly eight months, vPod.tv has raised a whopping $5.1 million in series A financing led by Innovacom.
The company allows users to upload videos, edit them online, and also publish them to different sites such as MySpace or eBay. In addition, advertising is built into the system, so the users can monetize their content more effectively. It also makes the content available over the wireless networks on user handsets, a particularly clever idea since 3G networks are becoming common place in Europe. Of course there are download options for PSP and iPod devices. (Mike has screenshots!)
Brave, because there are about 200-odd video companies out there, including AOL, Google, and Yahoo (planned) who just want your uncut, amateur videos. Of course, we all know how big You Tube is! So why jump into the fray? Seeking these answers, it was time to call Rodrigo and find out more about his game plan.
“We are trying to be less like YouTube, and more like Brightcove,” he explains. In other words, he will be the “web service” that powers the sites of other players with traffic. For instance, the company is now hosting and managing videos for FilmFestivals.com, which is currently focused on what else but, Cannes Film Festival. He wouldn’t talk about other (pending) deals.
Rodrigo succinctly points out that they are all battling it out in the US market, while he is going to play in his sandbox for now – Europe – before casting an eye on distant shores. “I know the market and I know the players, so it is prudent to focus here for now,” he says. He is betting that there is room for one big video play in Europe. He does have a point there, though I wonder if the world is truly flat, thanks to the Internet, why do start-ups have to be parochial? Regardless, his backer, Frédéric Humbert of Innovacom seems to have the same point of view. (He had backed Kelkoo which was sold €475m to Yahoo! two years ago, and Kelkoo became the #1 player in the Euroweb.)