Veeker Raises Funding, Cuts Deal with NBC

Veeker, a mobile video and picture messaging startup, is climbing back into the game with a revamped product and fresh customers. The company aims to make it easy for you to show your friends and family what you’re doing from wherever you and your cameraphone happen to be.

San Francisco-based Veeker, which launched about a year ago, raised a Series A round from Labrador Ventures earlier this year, bringing its total funding to “less than $2.5 million,” according to CEO Alex Kelly. I haven’t seen this reported elsewhere, but the Labrador site makes mention of a $320,000 investment in Veeker from this March. Kelly said Veeker is seeking addition funding now.

After some soul-searching about why nobody seemed to be adopting its product, Veeker changed things around, most importantly relaxing its registration requirements so people don’t have to be logged in to view content and adding uploads from a webcam or email in addition to a phone. It also offers a web-based widget people can use to show off their latest pictures and videos. The revamp was released last month.

Veeker is doing the smart thing and finding other people to push its product, most notably NBC. After
a test run helping local channel NBC11 with citizen journalism and viewer participation by enabling cameraphone uploads and text messages, NBC signed an exclusive deal about a month and a half ago to roll Veeker’s service out to 10 major cities, according to Kelly. Jan Boyd, executive producer of new media at NBC11, testified over email, “Their product is great. It actually works!”

When you think about it, “actually working” is all you really want from a product like Veeker’s. In a demo at Veeker’s office this week, I was impressed by how fast files flew around — from webcam to my phone in seconds — but it also struck me that I’d have to do a bit of learning to know how to send what where. As more and more people buy into MMS plans, this kind of on-the-spot sharing could really have mainstream appeal.

Meanwhile, though, there are a lot of services out there that help you send whatever multimedia can capture on your phone to an audience. For instance, kyte.tv, Zannel, Pickle, and Radar. While Veeker is akin to email, others are more oriented towards a personal broadcasting metaphor, but the products are really very similar.

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