WonderHowTo.com officially launched today, promising to become the biggest provider of online instructional videos. Perhaps a better name for the company would have been “Wonder-How-To-Pick-an-Already-Overcrowded-
Market-Segment-for-My-New-Business.com,” as it faces competition from 5min, VideoJug, Instructables, Expert Village, Howcast and — well, you get the point.
While WonderHowTo is a startup, it’s hitting the instructional ground running. It received an undisclosed sum in its Series A round of funding from General Catalyst Partners, and Scripps Network is not only providing content from its HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network and Fine Living properties, it’s also powering WonderHowTo’s ad sales. But WonderHowTo’s competitors aren’t exactly poor as church mice. 5min just raised $5 million in its first round; VideoJug pulled in $30 million last year. And ExpertVillage was acquired by Demand Media, which has $320 million in funding.
But all that money could serve to pump up WonderHowTo as well, as the company is indexing instructional content from across the web. A video on how to survive in cold temperatures, for example, came from the Federal Aviation Administration, and tips on how to stay dry while golfing came from VideoJug.
Perhaps more entertaining than the comically-crowded how-to space is WonderHowTo’s founder and CEO, Stephen Chao. According to The New York Times, while he was an executive at Fox, Chao once had a male stripper de-robe during a presentation, and on another occasion he threw Rupert Murdoch’s puppy into a pool to see if it could swim (relax, the puppy lived).
As you can see, there is no breakout leader of the instructional pack, so there is an opportunity for WonderHowTo. Perhaps Chao will move on from being the expert in “How to pull dumb stunts in front of your boss” to “How to take on a crowded market even though snarky reporters chide you for it.”