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The leadership team at Divvio, the stealthy multimedia search engine, said they were surprised when AT&T disclosed the details of their involvement in an announcement last week that the telco was launching a consumer-oriented video search web site called VideoCrawler that was powered by the startup. But since the cat was already out of the bag, Divvio CEO Hossein Eslambolchi (who formerly held a number of positions at AT&T, including CTO and CIO) agreed to tell us a bit more about what he’s been up to.
Eslambolchi said he raised $1 million in a Series A funding a year ago from Presidio STX and individual angel investors, and has been running a tight ship since then with 12 employees in Menlo Park, Calif. The company’s key innovation, in his opinion, is its deep crawling technology, which can index a new site in a matter of seconds and also trace content back to its host. Divvio’s index already has more than 300 million pieces of content, making it one of the largest in the space (though it pads its stats by including other types of multimedia besides video).
Eslambolchi said Divvio — which started life with its own consumer destination, but smartly changed tack — is expecting to license its platform to mobile, IPTV, and automotive customers, with AT&T being the first of such deals. AT&T’s license to use Divvio as a consumer-facing web application is an exclusive one, he said. Though our readers who got into the private beta told us they thought the VideoCrawler experience was poor, “It’s a way to get to millions of consumers,” was Eslambolchi’s explanation.
Divvio also has the capability to analyze videos frame by frame, only it chooses not to use it because it doesn’t want to risk falling on the wrong side of copyright law by making a copy of a file. But if it can secure media companies as customers, that opens up two more businesses, said Eslambolchi. One, to scour the web for unauthorized versions of files, and two, to better target advertising based on the relevant content in a video.
Both are hot areas — especially digital fingerprinting, where some of the biggest players haven’t chosen vendors yet. If you can license the same technology to that many different people, you’ve got a pretty nice business.
At this point Divvio is seeing revenue and could continue happily growing on a small scale, said Eslambolchi. “You don’t really need a lot of capital quite honestly to run this,” he explained. But since customers seem to be showing interest in these new ideas, he’s looking to raise a Series B round.