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Graspr Grabs $2.5 Million

You’d think with such a crowded field, the online video how-to space would start shaking out — not getting more money. But instructional site Graspr announced that it has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson and angel investors.

Unlike other instructional sites, Graspr founder and CEO Teresa Phillips isn’t positioning the site as a destination, but rather as syndication platform. For example, the company sees a big opportunity with in the education market by working with teachers to create and syndicate content to specific school sites, or Graspr would work with home improvement sites that are currently just text to distribute that type of video content. This approach is almost like the opposite of rival, which is centralizing and indexing content from all over the web.

“We are a destination to the extent that people have a place to go,” said Phillips, “What you won’t see on our site are things that promote community and stickiness. We won’t build social networking stuff.”

Graspr also announced the availability of its online video editing tool, which will let users trim clips, add text and transitions. The Graspr video player offers features like scene selection, slow motion playback, and adding notes to a video, though it doesn’t seem to offer as many features as the 5min player.

The site launched at DEMO in September last year, and currently has six employees who are outnumbered by the ten(!) interns, along with a team of fifteen in India who do engineering and filter video content.

Graspr plans to make money through advertising, product placements and sponsorships, and will offer a pretty broad revenue sharing program. Graspr members can earn money by uploading and syndicating videos, embedding videos on their blogs, and referring members who go on to produce or embed videos. Yikes, that’s a lot of cuts.

Though its competition is well funded — 5min raised $5 million, VideoJug had $30 million, Expert Village was bought by Demand Media, which got $320 million — Phillips optimistically sees this as more validation for the space.

We see a hard road ahead for Graspr. The company’s plan to differentiate itself in this packed space by syndicating will require a lot of work and its complicated revenue sharing means they’ll see less of any ad revenue that it generates.

2 Responses to “Graspr Grabs $2.5 Million”

  1. $2.5M is a relatively small investment in the online video space. I’d assume DFJ just wants to get a “dog in the fight” and see how it performs.

    But otherwise, I do sense a coming slowdown in financing of online video sites.